Driver surrenders, granted bail on manslaughter charge

The bus dri­ver ac­cused of un­law­ful­ly killing three-year-old Isa­iah Hazel has been grant­ed $150,000 bail.

Sher­ill Smartt, 31, of Cou­va ap­peared in the Cou­va Mag­is­trates Court on Mon­day morn­ing short­ly af­ter she sur­ren­dered to the po­lice.


Last week when of­fi­cers went to clar­i­fy some mat­ters with the woman, she could not be found at her home.

But yes­ter­day ac­com­pa­nied by her at­tor­ney Louis An­drews, Smartt went to the Cou­va Po­lice Sta­tion where she was tak­en in­to cus­tody and charged with manslaugh­ter.

The moth­er of three was charged af­ter the preschool­er was found dead in her bus on Ju­ly 4.

Ini­tial po­lice re­ports stat­ed that she picked up the child from his home to drop him to his school - Morn­ing Star Ear­ly Child­hood Cen­tre in Cal­i­for­nia. He ap­par­ent­ly fell asleep in the back seat and went un­no­ticed.

The oth­er chil­dren dis­em­barked. The dri­ver al­leged­ly went home and parked up the bus. When she re­turned to pick up the chil­dren in the af­ter­noon, Isa­iah’s body was found on the floor of the bus. An au­top­sy re­vealed that Isa­iah died as a re­sult of hy­per­ther­mia.

Smartt was ques­tioned by the po­lice and re­leased. In­ves­ti­ga­tors sub­se­quent­ly sub­mit­ted a file to the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions who gave in­struc­tions to charge her.

She was charged by Sgt Richard­son Elvin. Ask­ing for bail, Smartt’s at­tor­ney sub­mit­ted to Se­nior Mag­is­trate Chris­tine Charles that his client was a bus dri­ver but she is present­ly un­em­ployed.

He said she has three chil­dren rang­ing from age 11 years to 15 months and in a com­mon-law re­la­tion­ship. An­drews al­so sub­mit­ted that she has strong com­mu­ni­ty ties and no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions or pend­ing mat­ters. Pros­e­cu­tor Sgt Lin­coln Bon­nett did not ob­ject to bail.

The mag­is­trate grant­ed bail with Smartt’s broth­er as her sure­ty.

This means her broth­er has to sign the bail doc­u­ments and she would be re­leased in­to his care.

The mat­ter was ad­journed to Au­gust 12

Reporter: Sascha Wilson

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