Eight deaths on highway
Speed was a factor - cops

By Desiree Jodah
Stabroek News
July 5, 2000

Police yesterday said that speeding was the major contributory factor in Monday evening's grisly accident which claimed the lives of eight persons, including four children.

A taxi, HA 7651, returning with eight holiday-makers from a creek off the Linden highway slammed into a Canter truck travelling in the opposite direction killing all eight persons.

Five of the eight bodies were identified on Monday and the remaining three, members of one family, were identified last evening. Those identified yesterday are Biphia Budram, 40, of 203 Bladen Hall, East Coast Demerara and her two children Priyata Budram known as `Kimana', 13, a student of Bladen Hall Multilateral School and four-year-old Suresh Saroop called `Ryan', a pupil of Strathspey Nursery School.

Those identified on Monday were Aubrey Phillips, Harrinarine Geer 29, called `Roy', his wife Michelle Hinds, 25, and their nine-year-old daughter Ramona; and seven-year-old Joel Hamer all of Albouystown.

A police press statement said yesterday that despite repeated warnings, drivers of motor vehicles continued to drive their vehicles at a dangerous speeds. According to the police, evidence of the accident on Monday and one on Sunday which had claimed three lives showed clearly that speeding was a major contributory factor.

Sunday's accident had claimed the lives of Joel Edwards, 30, of 129 Regent Street, Lacytown; Lennox Alleyne, 27, of 8 Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara and Andre Burrowes, 16, of 46 Princes Street, Wortmanville. According to reports, the speeding car HA 7651 driven by Phillips had attempted to overtake PGG 4502 driven by Delly Gonsalves when it slammed head-on into the Canter truck driven by Shaka Arthur. Hospitalised are Arthur with a broken arm and leg, Venus Cozier, 18, of Success, East Coast Demerara suffering multiple injuries and Samuel Gonsalves, 12, suffering head injuries. Their conditions are listed as serious, but stable. Treated and sent away were Sylvester Gonsalves, Latoya Paul and Nicola Dickenson.


Joel Hamer (left) and Aubrey Phillips -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Relatives of Budram, Paul and Saroop were not aware that they had died until last evening when they were told by Stabroek News. Although the three family members had been with the Gonsalves family, Hinds and the others to the creek, their relatives at Bladen Hall were not told that they had died in the accident. The information was also not passed onto the police.

After consistent probing by Stabroek News, to elicit the information a relative of Hinds said that Cozier had gone to the creek with the family from the East Coast. While this newspaper was speaking with Cozier, her aunt arrived saying that she had just heard that she was involved in the accident. She was told by Stabroek News about the death of her sister-in-law, her nephew and niece. The news was then relayed to other family members at Bladen Hall. Budram's sister Shirley said her sister and her children left their home at about 1000 hrs, saying she was going to join her friends from Albouystown to go to the creek. She said when she saw that her sister's door was still padlocked yesterday morning, she grumbled about Kimana and Ryan being kept away from school. However, as the day went along she became worried. Budram said her nephew started making some enquiries and other relatives were contacted. She said after viewing the news on television, they saw Cozier whom they knew had gone with Budram and her children, in the hospital. Her nephew Ricky Beekham then decided to check with the hospital. However, the aunt and Cozier's stepfather Lalbachand who were at the hospital were already informed about the deaths.

The dead woman has left to mourn two daughters Nadola and Shenie who are currently residing in Suriname.

The police release said that in recent times more traffic patrols have been deployed along the East Bank and Linden/Soesdyke Highway to cater for the increased volume of traffic, especially on the weekends when persons frequented the creeks and other popular holiday resorts.

An appeal was once again made by the police to all categories of road users to exercise extreme caution when using the roads.

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