Corentyne crash death toll seven not nine

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
January 16, 2001

The death toll in last Saturday's accident on the Corentyne highway has been confirmed as seven and not nine as was previously reported.

The confusion over the exact figure arose out of a police report on Saturday which said that six persons had died on the spot at Number 50 Village and were taken to the Skeldon Hospital mortuary. Two bodies, the report said, were up to Saturday afternoon still to be identified.

The names given were Edmon Joseph, 52, of Springlands; nine-year-old Soman Subkarran of Number 59 Village; her father Hemant Balgobin, 39; driver of the mini-bus Saleman Persaud of Number 69 Village; conductor/owner Muniram Kirty of Number 55 Village; nine-year-old Deviskar Ramlakhan of Crabwood Creek and 42-year-old Fazal Khan, the driver of the canter GGG 9432 of Annandale, East Coast Demerara. Khan died shortly after arriving at the New Amsterdam hospital.

However, a source at the Skeldon Hospital told Stabroek News yesterday that the two unidentified bodies were identified subsequently and were in fact among the six bodies taken to the hospital's mortuary. Officer-in-charge of traffic, `B' Division, Supt. Neil Semple, who was unavailable over the weekend, yesterday confirmed that the toll was in fact seven. Six survivors were yesterday still in the New Amsterdam Hospital recuperating from a variety of injuries.

Semple told Stabroek News that the Division launched an exercise in December against speeding on the East and West Coast of Berbice. "On Saturday traffic ranks conducted enforcement exercises in the Number 55 Village area, a few miles from the scene of the accident at No. 50 Village and along the East Coast Berbice roadway," he noted. "During the exercises several charges were instituted against drivers for speeding." The traffic officer attributed accidents on the roadways to lawlessness and indiscipline on the part of drivers. Semple said he was perturbed over the tragic accident and called on passengers to voice their objection to speeding. "It is disturbing to know that passengers sit passively and allow drivers to speed fully aware of the likely consequence of reckless driving." The travelling public, he said, also had a role to play in curbing reckless driving which could lead to fatalities. He called on the public to assist in the drive to stop the carnage on the country's roads.

Meanwhile, a man died at the Port Mourant Hospital after being hit by a motorcycle on the Rose Hall Town Public road. The man was struck down yesterday morning in the vicinity of the police outpost.

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