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Jan 10, 2011

Tourist in accident complains of unfair treatment

suzan benzle boutz

Still on the police, the family of a businesswoman from Chattanooga, Tennessee, is accusing the department of corruption. The woman came to Belize in December for a three week Christmas vacation with her family. But she is getting an extended stay because she is facing two charges following a traffic accident at the junction of the Southern Highway and the Placencia Road. Suzan Benzle Boutz’ story has been posted on the internet with her version of events which gives the police department a black eye. She owns a company that specializes in religious jewelry and textiles. News Five Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The family of sixty year old Suzan Benzle Boutz has returned to the US after a visit to the jewel. Suzan was involved in a traffic incident in the south which ash led to her detention, arrest and the surrender of her passport to prevent her from leaving Belize until the conclusion of her case for two traffic offences. Her son, Elliott Benzle, has posted a website called Belize Travel Review with a large banner at the top, saying “Warning Do Not Travel to Belize”.  The site carries their version of the accident, which according to Susan and her son, was not her fault. They claim Susan was driving a rented Daihatsu Terrios at about six-forty-five on December twentieth. She stopped at the junction of the Placencia Road and the Southern Highway and that’s when, Rony Cruz, who was travelling on a motorcycle, allegedly swerved into the wrong lane, and slammed into the vehicle. The impact flung him over the SUV before he landed on the pavement. Cruz is also said to have hit his head on the windshield during the collision.

Susan’s son alleges that after the accident, Independence Police refused to take statements from willing eyewitnesses and one was later threatened. In her own statement on the website, Susan says she was held for eighteen hours at the police station before she was given any information about the charges or was allowed to contact an attorney. She further states that she slept on a bare concrete floor and was taunted by officers on duty that night. She has been charged with Negligent Grievous Harm and Driving Without Due Care and Attention. As for the website, Susan’s son says it will be removed as soon as his mother is allowed to leave the country. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Boutz pleaded not guilty to the two charges and despite requests for a speedy trial, she goes back to court on January twenty-seventh; more than a month after the accident. Meanwhile, Rony Cruz has been treated for his injuries and released from the hospital.

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56 Responses for “Tourist in accident complains of unfair treatment”

  1. mt boat. says:

    As I said……

  2. vigilante justice 316 says:

    hahaha, if when you say “trying to reason with people who are incapable of reason” isn’t calling them stupid or ignorant, I don’t know what is. Isn’t it typical of foreigners to threaten developing countries with financial ruin when they don’t get their way? And not only that but using the blogs of a handful of citizens to pass judgement on a whole country. My goodness, racism, violence…he says that as if his country doesn’t have the same thing. Should the whole world judge the US based on the comments made on youtube? come now be reasonable.

    It seems fishy to me that witnesses of a simple car accident would be threatened when A) no one died B) the motorist isn’t a gang member C) No drug dealing seems to be involved so who threatened them? the police? and if so what could the police possibly have to gain by keeping this woman here?

    If anyone knows anything of what happened in this accident, please don’t mind your own business. Come forward so this case can be solved and we can move on to more important things like cleaning up our streets, of crime that happens all over the world.

  3. BZNinCALI says:

    mt boat., you were not the one who suggested the man was drunk, that was “snap” but I stand by what I said. What Belizeans are asking visitors to do is respect the laws & what is left of our culture. Every Police Department have officers who come across as A-holes & bullies, it is the nature of the job, they see folks at their worse. Sometimes it is up to us to be civil & not allow a situation to get out of hand. Did the officer try to issue a ticket , asked for her passport & asked her to sign the ticket & she refused? That will earn most of us a ride to the nearest police station in the states. If the witness statements reflected that the driver was not at fault & she had adequate insurance, I don’t think we would be having this conversation. The man who ran aground last year was fined & let go. the billionaire who ran for the senate in Florida, wrecked his boat on our reef, was allowed to leave & still hasn’t paid for the damage. This woman hit a human being with her car & no one has shown an ounce of concern for him. The US has an Embassy in Belize, they chose not to intervene. Why? This woman was not mugged or harassed in any way until she had this accident & that is the reason I addressed the arrogance & condescension with which too many choose to address people who they see as being beneath them. What was done & said at the site of the accident that put a 61 year old & the law on a collision course?

  4. mt boat says:

    Your own people are the ones who condemn your police. All one has to do is read the news and the blogs, the statements of the people,tell me that Belize cops are incompetent. The comments of the people show an inability to reason logically.
    The US embassy does not intervene because the Ambassador is a piece of work. There have been several cases where US citizens have appealed to the US embassy……
    No help, no caring.
    This statement from you ,”If the witness statements reflected that the driver was not at fault & she had adequate insurance, I don’t think we would be having this conversation.
    As I understand it the witness tried and were ignored.
    Pretty much exactly what I said in my post.
    Your questions…ie. What was done & said at the site of the accident that put a 61 year old & the law on a collision course? Well obviously you don’t know. So rather than take the word of a innocent person, some here just believe she must be lying on her website. Simply because she is WHITE and a visitor in your country. Is there any reason to think this woman is lying, in light of the fact that your cops show daily incompetence, and your own people, comment on their
    cops negatively in all the blogs? As I said, Belize is not safe, especially for US tourists.

  5. MR says:

    @BZNinCALI
    In addition to what mt boat said, you assume she hit another person. However, she claims to have been stopped, and the motor cycle ran into her vehicle. Again, you just don’t know.

  6. deltasone says:

    We should be painstaking and fussy in all the intelligence we give. We should be extraordinarily careful in giving guidance that we would not about of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to refrain from giving advisor which we don’t tag along when it damages those who woo assume us at our word.

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