UG students in Essequibo accident
One dead, three hurt

Stabroek News
April 24, 2003

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A minibus transporting University of Guyana students on a field trip to the Essequibo Coast turned over yesterday, killing one student and seriously injuring three others.

Dead is Patrick Paul, one of 35 final-year architecture students on the field trip to Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam). He was pronounced dead at the Suddie Hospital after the minibus in which ten of the students were travelling, crashed on the Lima Public Road.

Paul, 26, of Lot 12 Phoenix Park, West Bank Demerara, is said to have died instantly after the driver of the minibus swerved to avoid another vehicle and lost control.

Three of the injured students were air-dashed to the city with two of them admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital.

The injured students are: Dave Hicks, 21, of Lot 4 Burnham Drive, Wismar, who suffered head trauma and a broken right arm; Donette Thornton, 29, of Middle Street, Pouderoyen, who suffered a broken right foot; and Marvin Dow, 25, of 710 East Ruimveldt, who suffered trauma to his neck.

Hicks and Thornton were listed in critical but stable conditions while Dow was discharged from the hospital after being treated for his injuries.

The accident occurred at about 12:30 pm. The driver of the ill-fated vehicle, along with seven other students who were in the minibus suffered minor injuries and were treated at the Suddie Hospital and sent away.

One eyewitness to the accident told Stabroek News that the bus was travelling north along the Lima Public Road when the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and the bus rolled about six times ending up near the Lima Coffee Grove culvert.

According to sources, the students were accompanied by Lecturer of the CIV 420 course, James Mc Allister, for a field trip which entailed them examining the Essequibo road. The students were final year architecture and Civil Engineering students.

Reports state that the driver had said a truck that was in front of him experienced a blow-out and he was attempting to avoid the vehicle.

A final-year Architecture student, Paul left his home to join the convoy at about 7.15 am yesterday morning, his mother Jeana said. Shortly after 1 pm, Paul's family was contacted by a lecturer who had been accompanying the students on the trip, and who informed them of the accident.

Roy Paul, the young man's father, received the call:

"The man said he was a lecturer... [who was] accompanying the class on the field trip.. He said `your son has been in an accident and is in a serious condition.'"

"I said how serious."

"He said that he didn't know and he would call me back immediately. About ten minutes after he called and said `Sorry, he died.'"

Paul, who was engaged on New Year's Day leaves to mourn four brothers, including a twin, and four sisters.

Meanwhile, as news of the tragedy spread, scores of University of Guyana students flocked to the hospital and were seen anxiously waiting around the Accident & Emergency Unit as their injured colleagues were being treated.

Vincent Alexander, in his capacity as Deputy Registrar at the university, was also there along with President of the University of Guyana Students' Society (UGSS), Robert Bourne.

Relatives and friends of the injured students also gathered at the hospital and were heard offering prayers for their speedy recovery.

Dow was discharged from the hospital at around 7.45 pm wearing a neck brace. He was immediately surrounded by his colleagues but appeared to have difficulty speaking and just sat in the wheelchair with his face in his hands.

Students were heard lamenting that it was the second time for the year that an architecture student had died tragically.

They recalled that it was only on March 1, first year architecture student, Yohance Douglas was shot dead by the police. (Yusuf Khan, Samantha Alleyne and Andre Haynes)

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