(Trinidad and Tobago Newsday) – As thousands around the country celebrated Christmas on Saturday, a Laventille woman was coming to terms with the news that her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in a vehicular accident on Friday nightlast.
With tears streaming down her face and seated in her daughter’s apartment at Burke Terrace, El Socorro Extension, Ingrid Watterton said, “I was just hoping it was a dream.”
A three-car smash up along the east-bound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway on Christmas Eve claimed the lives of Guyanese nationals Redison Roberts, 38; his wife Indrani Roberts, 28; Wrensford Lewis, 34; his wife Trinidadian Melissa Watterton-Lewis, 24; and their daughter two-year-old Renesha.
Causing a major pile-up as traffic had to be diverted along the Piarco Old Road, the tragedy occurred at about 7 pm as the five were returning from completing last-minute Christmas shopping in Arima.
While officers are still uncertain how the accident occurred, Watterton said they believe Roberts was “given a bad drive and lost control of the car as he pulled away.”
Police said a vehicle driven by Nyree De Couteau, 41, a Customer Service Representative at TSTT and her daughter La Toya, 25, was heading east to their home at Red Hill in D’Abadie, while a second car driven by Barry Guy, 46, of Morvant and a driver with TSTT, was struck by Roberts’s B11 Sunny car which crossed the median and collided with them.
While the five occupants of Roberts’s vehicle were killed instantly, La Toya had to be hospitalised after sustaining minor injuries.
A vendor in Port-of-Spain, Watterton recounted how she first found out that her family was involved in the accident.
While at work along Independence Square on Friday night, she said that a man told her of the accident and claimed Melissa, an employee of Carib Brewery, had been a passenger in one of the vehicles.
After inquiring at the Besson Street Police Station, Watterton said she went to the Arouca Police Station where the information was confirmed. She was later taken to Allen’s Funeral Home in Arima, where she positively identified the bodies of the five victims.
Gesturing to the disarray in the apartment which remained half-painted, Watterton and her husband, Malcolm, said that the couple had “already finished their shopping but knowing Melissa, she probably had to get a few last minute items.”
Malcolm said Melissa had asked him to help her buy a car and was looking forward to getting one.
The grieving mother last spoke with Melissa about 11 am on Thursday last. She said that her daughter’s favourite line while patting her shoulder was, “Don’t worry mom…why worry?” Watterton pointed to groceries still in plastic bags on the sofa as she shook her head and said, “I didn’t prepare for this. This was not part of the plan but I have to accept it.”
Unsure of how she will cope with the loss, Watterton said she has many questions but that her faith remained strong.
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