Three dead after bus smashes into post at Soesdyke
Two injured

By Miranda La Rose and Samantha Alleyne
Stabroek News
July 3, 2000

A mini-bus yesterday morning rammed into a wallaba pole on the Soesdyke Public Road and three employees of Stain Masters were killed and two injured. Dead are the driver, Lennox Alleyne, 27, of 8 Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara; Joel Edwards aka `Turkey', 30, of 129 Regent Street, Lacytown; and Andre Burrowes, 16, of 46 Princes Street, Wortmanville.

Hospitalised are Maylene Frank, 43 of 269 East Ruimveldt; and Kester Williams, 25, of Plaisance both of whom are suffering from head injuries and lacerations about the body. The sixth person in the vehicle 22-year-old Malcolm Reid, of Blue Mountain Road, Festival City escaped without injury.

The Route 42 Toyota RZ mini-bus BGG 8592, which was contracted by Stain Masters of South Ruimveldt Park, was transporting its employees from Georgetown to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri when the accident occurred. The vehicle was transporting the workers who were due to relieve the night duty staff and bring them back to the city.

Reid, the only survivor to escape unscathed told Stabroek News at his home that at the time of the accident he was dozing off in the back seat. He said that he became aware that something was amiss with the mini-bus when he heard the driver exclaim loudly. The bus then made a sudden turn and he felt the impact of the bus hitting something and then suddenly stopping. It all happened in a split second. However, he could not say whether the bus had been speeding.

When he raised his head, Reid said he saw the condition of others and he tried to make his way out of the vehicle. He recalled that in the front seat with the driver were Burrowes who sat next to the driver and Williams who was at the window. Frank and Edwards were in the second seat. He said that the Mohabirs who lived in the yard where the vehicle crashed and neighbours pulled him out of the back window. He was the first survivor out of the bus. He used the Mohabirs' telephone to contact his employers. Rosalind Mohabir, owner of the property at Lot 19 Soesdyke Public Road where the mini-bus and the broken lamp post crash told Stabroek News that the accident occurred at about 0705 hrs. The lamp post broke in the middle from the impact of the vehicle.

The wallaba post was a new one which was replaced recently. Splinters from the wallaba post as well as shattered glass from the windscreen and windows were strewn all over the yard and even in the Mohabirs' verandah and living room when Stabroek News visited the scene during the morning hours. The mini-bus was folded in half from the impact. Mohabir said that she was still in bed when she heard the impact of the accident thinking at the time that it was thunder and lightning because of the vibration she felt and flashes of light she saw. The morning had been rainy. What she thought was lightning were sparks from the broken electrical wires.

She got up and was immediately told by her son, Hero not to go outside because "the electrical wires had burst and they were sparking". She ran to the verandah and saw one man who was bleeding outside the bus. By then her cousin and neighbours pulled Frank and the other male survivor out of the bus. However, she said that the other three were trapped in the mini-bus which had folded up and was enmeshed by the electrical wires.

Reid, Mohabir said, telephoned his employers while she herself called the Guyana Power and Light company to disconnect the power to the area, because of the sparks, and the police at Madewini.

She noted that many people rushed to the aid of those trapped in the bus including a man called `Kawall' who used a chainsaw to cut away the metal to get at the bodies that were trapped inside. Some tried using hacksaws as well. When contacted, the late Edward's father, Ovid Edwards told Stabroek News that he spoke with his son while he was having a bath in preparation for the fateful journey. His son Joel, he said was accident prone and recalled one incident in which he lost three toes while working with Barama Company Limited and another on the Linden/Soesdyke highway which left him suffering from scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine). Inspite of that he said that he would help with everything around.

He noted that Joel should have been working on the night shift but had been called in to work on the day shift from Friday. He was due to start the day shift on Monday. Stabroek News visited the home of Burrowes, who would have celebrated his 17th birthday on August 8. His stepfather, Anthony Baptiste, said that the young man left the house around minutes to six. Burrowes, he said only started working at the company a few months ago after he "pestered" his mother, Denise Baptiste who resides in the USA, to allow him to find a job. The stepfather said the dead boy lived with him and his two younger sisters and yesterday morning he (the stepfather) cooked the boy's favourite meal, chowmein and chicken, for him to take to work.

At the home of Alleyne, his 26-year-old wife, Sumantha, was just trying to come to grips with her husband's death. The two have a 7-year-old son, Renick and have been married for two years. She said her husband, who is the elder of two boys, also started working for the company in February last but he has been a driver for sometime now.

Stabroek News understands that the owner of Stain Masters visited the homes of the dead employees and the injured persons in hospital.

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