Dramatic chase on city roads: Woman killed, 11 hurt
Driver flees

By Samantha Alleyne and Leonard Gildarie
Stabroek News
April 29, 2000

A chase along a city road yesterday resulted in a major collision in which one woman was killed and several other persons injured.

The driver of the bus said to be at fault escaped from the scene on foot along the sea wall and up to last night police were still hunting for him.

The out-of-control mini-bus, attempting to escape from a taxi which it had crashed into minutes before, slammed into another bus, killing Marilyn Sammy, a seamstress of 56 Third Street, Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown.

The woman, said to be in her 40s, died shortly after being admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Those injured in the crash are: Terrence Kirpaul, 24, a mini-bus conductor of 40 Sixth Street, Cummings Lodge; Dhanmattie Sookraj, 41, of 89 Fifth Street, Cummings Lodge; mini-bus driver Nazim Bacchus, 44, of 41 Industry Front; Kizzy-Ann Sam, 20, of Liliendaal; Preyan Gomes, 25, of 64, Fourth Street, Cummings Lodge; Dolores Rodrigues, 61, of Moruka, North-West District; Evelyn Gibson, 44, of 72 Duncan Street, Kitty; Esther Smartt of 2196 Layou Street, Festival City; Terrizine Pollard, 27, and her three-year-old son, Jarad Pollard, both of 37 Cummings Lodge, and Gopaul Gauchara, 22 Crown Dam, Industry.

Bacchus, who suffered a fractured right leg, and Gauchara, with body injuries, were the only ones to be admitted.

The accident, which occurred at the junction of Sheriff Street and the Rupert Craig Highway, a few minutes after midday, involved mini-buses BGG 7219, which had the name 'King Floyd' written on its side, and BDD 8088.

The drama all started when mini-bus 7219 was involved in a scrape with a car, HA 7365 on Mandela Avenue.

The driver of the white Toyota Sprinter (HA 7365), Linden Mason told Stabroek News that he was at the junction of Joseph Pollydore Street and Mandela Avenue when the back of his car was hit by the mini-bus. The clearly furious man said that he pulled off the road and was about to get out when the mini-bus "flew" past him. He said that he then got back into his car and started to chase the bus which sped through several small streets in the Campbellville area.

The chase continued as the bus turned into Sheriff Street, raced through a cross street and sped into Stone Avenue where it pulled into a corner. The man told Stabroek News that he also pulled into a corner, got out of his car and was approaching the driver about the incident on Mandela Avenue when the bus suddenly reversed and slammed into the front of his car.

The mini-bus then raced up Sheriff Street, did not stop at the junction with the Rupert Craig Highway, and was hit in the side by BDD 8088 which was on its way west to the city.

Mason said he had still followed the bus, but he had to "cruise" since the impact to the front of his car caused the engine to malfunction. The car eventually cut out at the corner of Sheriff Street and Rupert Craig Highway and had to be towed away.

Bacchus, driver of mini-bus BDD 8088, recounting the events said that he picked up his passengers at the University of Guyana and some on UG road and was proceeding west along the Rupert Craig Highway when he saw another mini-bus dash out of Sheriff Street. The driver said that he immediately applied brakes but it was too late; the right side of the said mini-bus slammed into in his vehicle causing it to turn turtle. The driver disclosed that Sammy was seated in the front of his vehicle and took the full brunt of the collision.

Rodrigues, who was seated behind the driver and suffered a swollen left eye and cuts to her forehead, said that she did not see what happened and that her spectacles were smashed in the collision. The Region One resident said she had travelled to the city to "look after my eyes" and was staying with a niece in Cummings Lodge. She was on her way to a city optometrist when the accident occurred.

UG student, Smartt, was going over some notes with her classmate, Gibson, when someone shouted "look-out!" she said the next thing she knew was that the notes went flying and there was a loud noise. Suddenly she was sitting "sideways." The other passengers, who escaped with minor bruises, corroborated Bacchus's and Rodrigues' stories. Kirpaul said that everything happened so fast that he hardly knew what had occurred.

Accounts from Sam and Gomes, who are both teachers at the Turkeyen Nursery School and who had minor scratches, indicated that Sammy was sitting in front of the bus at the time of the accident. Sam said that she was in the seat behind the conductor and saw when the bus she was in collide with the other bus. She said that she was the first passenger to "crawl" out of the bus through its window. Gomes said that she took a while to extricate herself because the dead woman's foot was resting on her head.

Eyewitnesses told this newspaper that after the buses collided both of them spun around and while BDD 8088, which had 13 passengers, landed on its side the runaway mini-bus remained on its wheels but was facing Sheriff Street.

Stabroek News was told that the driver of mini-bus BGG 7219, which plies the Lodge/South route, ran out of his bus, jumped over the seawall and ran in the direction of the East Coast. A vendor on Sheriff Street said that he saw the young man, who had blood trickling down his face, running along the seawall and when he reached Conversation Tree road, he jumped over the wall onto the road and ran along that street. The young man was reportedly seen pelting down the Railway Embankment in the direction of David Street.

When Stabroek News visited the scene mini-bus BDD 8088 was still on its side and blood along with broken glass was on the road. Two umbrellas, a black plastic bag and one sandal were also lying on the road. The sandal was said to belong to the dead woman.

The keys were still in the ignition of the runaway bus and another bunch of keys was lying in the bus. Owner of mini-bus BGG 7219, Edward Richmond, said that he only bought the bus about nine months ago. Richmond told Stabroek News that earlier in the day the driver and conductor had told him that "the road was hard" (meaning there were few commuters) and they were coming off the road. He said his bus was usually parked in the compound of City Hall and as such he did not know the bus was still on the road.

Stabroek News learnt last night that the man who traditionally drives the bus was questioned by the police at the Kitty Police Station and he was reported to have said that he went to visit a friend in D'Urban Backlands and had left the conductor in the mini-bus. He said the conductor then started the mini-bus and drove away without his permission.