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Former Mayor Found Guilty Following 2008 Fatal Traffic Incident

Ravell Gonzalez, a Crown Counsel in the Ministry of the Attorney General and a former Mayor of Orange Walk Town, who was charged with 2 counts of causing death by careless conduct, was found guilty of both charges today by a jury of 5 men and 4 women. The jury deliberated for almost 3 hours before it arrived at its verdict which was unanimous. After hearing pleas for mitigation from Realtor Oscar Rosado and Ellis Arnold, one of Gonzalez’ attorney, Justice Gonzalez fined him $4,000 for each count and ordered him to pay compensation to one of the victims, 2-year-old, Martita Lopez. Gonzalez was given until November 30 to pay the fines and the compensation. If he defaults on payment of the fines his sentence will be 1 year for each count. The sentences are to run concurrently. The incident occurred between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m. on June 15, 2008, between miles 35 and 36 on Phillip Goldson Highway. Gonzalez was driving a burgundy Dodge Caravan and was coming from Belize City and going to Orange Walk when he knocked down Manuel Coto who was walking a bicycle with Lopez on it. Coto and Lopez were killed. Lopez parents, Manuel Lopez and Martha Garcia, who were along with the deceased, testified that Gonzalez was driving fast and that they were on the side of the road. Gonzalez testified and said that he was blinded by the lights of a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Gonzalez was also represented by attorney Tricia Anderson. Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith represented the prosecution.