A coroner’s inquest began on Friday into the October 24, 2014 death of 51-year-old Geslin Emmanuel Grocravia, a French motorcyclist from Martinique who died in St. Vincent after an incident involving a truck in Arnos Vale, two miles east of Kingstown.
The inquest was adjourned with no set date for its conclusion after Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias, sitting as coroner, heard the testimony of two witnesses.
The first person to give evidence in the inquest was Bertram Browne of North Union, who was the driver of TN818, the 10-tonne truck that is believed to have run over Grocravia.
Browne, a licensed driver for about 20 years, told the court that he was travelling about 40 miles per hour toward Kingstown from Fountain, when he felt a bump under the left rear wheel of the truck in Casson Hill, just outside of the E.T. Joshua Airport. The truck did not have any cargo.
The incident occurred in an area where two lanes of traffic into Kingstown merge into one, while there is a single lane for traffic out of the city.
The driver said that after feeling the bump, he looked in his left wing mirror and saw a motorcycle on the sidewalk. He, therefore, stopped the truck and asked his conductor, who was also sitting in the cab of the truck, to see what had happened.
The conductor reported back to him that there was a man lying in the road.
Browne said that on receiving the conductor’s report, he exited the truck and checked for himself.
By that time, a number of persons had gathered around and someone had called the police. An ambulance also responded and took Grocravia to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The trucker said that upon exiting the truck, he saw Grocravia lying face down in the road. He was speaking, but the trucker could not understand what he was saying, suggesting that Grocravia was speaking French.
He said that biker had a prosthetic left leg, which had become detached from his body.
Browne told the inquest that he had first seen the biker at the Arnos Vale Roundabout — about a half mile away — when he stopped the truck to give way to another vehicle.
The trucker said that the motorcyclist overtook him and the other vehicle, and he later saw the motorcycle stopped at the side of the road and Grocravia speaking with some other motorcyclists near Adams Apartments in Arnos Vale — a few hundred yards from where the incident happened.
Browne told the inquest that during the time between when he saw Grocravia at the side of the road and then on the ground, no vehicle had overtaken him travelling towards Kingstown, but there was moderate flow of traffic in the opposite direction.
He said it was a sunny day and the surface of the road was dry.
Also testifying on Friday was Detective Sergeant Brian Archibald of the Criminal Records Office, who photographed the scene of the incident and Grocravia’s body.
When the inquest resumed, the coroner is expected to hear testimony from the investigator, Station Sergeant of Police Junior Nero, who was then attached to the Traffic Branch in Kingstown, and the pathologist who examined Grocravia’s body.
In October 2014, the Public Relations Department said that Grocravia, who was riding his motorcycle, V64, was travelling from Arnos Vale towards Kingstown, behind, TN818.
Just approaching Casson Corner, at the end of the double lines, the motorcycle proceeded to pass on the left side as the truck made a left turn, police had said.
Grocravia and his motorcycle went under the truck and the left rear wheel of the truck came into contact with the cyclist, police had said.
Grocravia was in St. Vincent to take part in motorcycle events as part of Independence celebrations. He is said to be well-known across the region for his stunts, and has taken part in the Independence motocross in St. Vincent.