One killed as Route 32 minibuses collide
Seventeen injured
By Nigel Williams and Kim Lucas
Stabroek News
December 4, 2002

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One person was killed and several others seriously injured when a Route 32 mini-bus crashed into the side of another shortly after sunset yesterday at Harlem Public Road, West Coast Demerara.

Dead is 18-year-old Davendranauth Dhanraj, known as `Rocky' of Philadelphia Village, East Bank Essequibo. He reportedly died before reaching the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he and several of the passengers were rushed. But it was not until around 8 pm that his parents and other relatives confirmed his death. His mother and sister broke down and fainted several times. It was the second death for the family that day as an elderly relative had passed away earlier.

Giving an account of the accident a resident of Harlem said it was around 5:30 pm when mini-bus BHH 3686 with logo `Gangster' was travelling towards Vreed-en-Hoop while `Iceberg' the other minibus with license plate number BHH 3002 was travelling towards Parika. The young man said both mini-buses were travelling at a very high speed. He related that `Iceberg' was carrying some 16 passengers while `Gangster' had around five including the driver. He said from all indications the `Gangster' minibus was travelling on its lane, but all of a sudden `Iceberg' ended in front of it crashing into the left side of the vehicle. After the first impact `Gangster' continued to move rolling over at least three times before landing on its right side near a fence.

The eyewitness said most of the passengers in `Iceberg' suffered serious injuries since it is believed that this vehicle was travelling faster than the other one. But the passenger's door of `Gangster', next to where Dhanraj who was killed had been sitting was severely dented and it appeared that those who had been on that side suffered serious injuries also. Both the front and rear windshields of the vehicle were blown off and all of the headlamps were destroyed.

The `Iceberg' minibus was not as badly damaged and was towed away by ranks from the Den Amstel Police Station and taken to the station's compound. Stabroek News understands that traffic ranks arrived on the scene shortly after the collision. However, for over ten minutes, the eyewitness said, some ten schoolchildren mostly girls who were travelling in `Iceberg' were left to lie on the road writhing in pain as citizens assisted in taking the others out of the mini-buses. At least three persons, the eyewitness reported, were unconscious when they emerged from one of the buses. He observed that apart from the conductor of `Gangster' all the others in that vehicle were able to walk albeit with assistance from residents. Those who were in the other mini-bus had suffered broken limbs.

Minutes later ambulances from the West Demerara Regional Hospital began to arrive, but this was after other mini-bus operators and car drivers had rushed seventeen injured persons to Best Hospital where they were briefly treated and transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GHPC).

Just that afternoon, Dhanraj's great-grandmother had passed away According to his father, Lalbahadur Dhanraj, only yesterday afternoon, he (Lalbahadur) had received news of his own grandmother's death. The man told Stabroek News that he had gone to make arrangements for the wake and upon returning home, someone told him about the accident. Fearing the worst, but hoping for the best, some family members immediately piled into a minibus and headed for the city. At the hospital, they joined several others who were also awaiting word, only to discover Dhanraj had died. (Additional reporting by Edlyn Benfield)

Injured are:
Tanesh Wilkinson, 12, of New Road Vreed-en-Hoop
Melinda Saunders of Lot 43 De Kindren (She was treated for minor injuries and sent away)
Lalbecari Mangru, 34, of Lot 3 New Road Vreed-en-Hoop;
Bharrat Mohan, 26, of Anna Catherina
Nalini Mohabir, 20, Lot 551 Crane Housing Scheme,
Afzal Safdar, 28, of Leonora
Deon Collins, 19, of Den Amstel
Rambagu, 34, of Zeelugt Housing Scheme
Joel De Sousa, 16, Lot 69 Park Village
Rishi Persaud of Parika
Anna Mahase, 22, of Philadelphia
Anthony Baynes, 17, of 35 E New Road Vreed-en-Hoop
Quacy Gilkes, 25, of 122 Meten-Meer-Zorg
Dianand Natoo, 22, of 161 Anna Catherina
Vishal Ramsday, 15, of 71 New Road Vreed-en-Hoop
Quint Bahadur, 20, of 68 New Road Vreed-en-Hoop
Deon Ramphal 24 of Anna Catherina WCD.

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