Survivors said to be stable

by Leo Barker and Amanda Wilson
Guyana Chronicle
July 5, 2000

SURVIVORS who were admitted to the Georgetown Hospital following Monday's Soesdyke/Linden Highway fatal accident, which claimed the lives of eight persons, were yesterday reported to be in stable condition.

The accident, involving motor cars PGG 4502 and HA 7651, and a canter truck GFF 5176, occurred at around 19:00 hours (7 p.m.) near the One Mile turn on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

Admitted to the city institution were: Venus Cozier, 19, of 185 First Street, Success, East Coast Demerara; driver of the canter truck, Shaka Arthur, 27, of 220 South Ruimveldt Park; and 12-year-old Samuel Gonsalves of 185 Cooper Street, Albouystown.

Hospital officials yesterday confirmed that they were among six persons who were injured in the smash-up. The other three, Nicole Dickson, 25, of 156 Duncan Street; Natoya Paul, 13, of 10 Soesdyke and Sylvester Gonsalves were treated by doctors Monday night and sent home.

According to medical personnel, three bodies are still in the hospital mortuary awaiting identification.

The Guyana Police Force has once again expressed its concern over the recent spate of road fatalities.

A statement issued yesterday by the Public Relations and Press Officer, Mr Ivelaw Whittaker, said that despite several warnings, drivers of motor vehicles continue to drive at dangerous speeds.

"Over the last weekend, the lives of 11 persons were snuffed out in two separate accidents on the East Bank Demerara and on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway," the statement noted.

It added: "The evidence of the two accidents referred to clearly shows that speeding was a major contributory factor."

According to the statement, additional traffic patrols were deployed recently along the East Bank Demerara and the Soesdyke-Linden Highway to manage the increased volume of traffic especially during weekends, when persons frequent the creeks and other popular holiday resorts.

Passengers of vehicles, especially mini-buses and hire cars, are also reminded that it is their responsibility to call on drivers to slow down whenever they are seen driving at a dangerous speeds. Such incidents should be reported to the Police, the statement warned.

The Guyana Force is extending condolences to the relatives and friends of those who were killed and injured in the accidents. The Force once again appealed to all categories of road-users to exercise extreme caution when using the roads.

According to the Police, the accidents this weekend have brought the fatality figure for the year to 90 persons, two less than the figure for the corresponding period last year.

Yesterday the Chronicle visited the Georgetown Hospital and interviewed the survivors. The first, Samuel Gonsalves, said he and others were travelling home in two cars after spending the day at Splashmin's Resort on the Highway when the accident occurred.

The first form Charlestown Secondary School student related that he was in the front seat of one car, when the other car attempted to overtake another vehicle and collided with the truck, which was proceeding in the opposite direction.

Gonsalves added that the car turned turtle several times before coming to a standstill on the highway.

According to him, the vehicle in which he was travelling, also collided with the car.

Gonsalves, who was complaining of severe headache yesterday, lost his aunt, Michelle Hinds; his uncle Harrinarine Geer; and his cousin, Ramona Geer in the smash-up.

Ms Venus Cozier told this newspaper that she does not remember anything about the accident. She, however, complained of severe chest pains.

Arthur, who suffered a broken left leg and bruises and cuts about his body, said he was knocked unconscious from the impact.

He related that he was on his way to the Kuru Kuru College on the Highway when the accident occurred. He cannot recall what really happened.

According to Arthur, he regained consciousness yesterday morning.

Maria Hinds, who lost her daughter and grand-daughter in the collision, said Michelle was the youngest of three daughters. Ms Hinds said that she last saw her daughter Michelle on Monday morning before she and her older sister, Angela left for Splashmin's.

The woman added that Angela had travelled back to the resort to collect a piece of jewellery she had left with a friend while Michelle and her daughter Ramona continued their journey home with the group.

According to Ms Hinds, Angela was in another vehicle travelling back to the city when she saw the accident.

Also killed in the smash-up were Joel Hamer, 7, of Lot 157, Non Pariel Street, Albouystown and Anthony Phillips, driver of the badly damaged car.

There was another accident yesterday morning at Little Diamond on the East Bank Demerara. The driver of the mini-bus involved in the mishap, Denis Mohan Prashad, 47, of 67 Little Diamond, was admitted to the Georgetown Hospital.

Prashad told this newspaper that he was transporting 12 passengers in mini-bus BGG 4377 to the city from Timehri when something went wrong with the steering of the vehicle and he collided "slowly into a truck", which was travelling in the opposite direction.

He was the only person injured.

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