Teen in Cemetery Road bridge accident succumbs
The teenage boy who was injured in Saturday night’s Cemetery Road Bridge mishap has died.
Elbert Thorne, of Grove, East bank Demerara, succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation shortly after midnight yesterday.
Kaieteur News understands that he had sustained head injuries, and water had entered his lungs after he was trapped in the submerged car for several minutes.
“I lost my baby…I tried to save him, but he was trapped inside of the car,” his distraught mother, Alma Thorne, lamented yesterday.
The tragedy occurred after the car in which the mother and son were passengers veered off the dilapidated bridge at Cemetery Road, North East La Penitence, and toppled into a canal.
The mother and driver managed to scramble to safety but Elbert, a former student of Kingston Community High School and Zenon Academy, was trapped in the overturned vehicle for several minutes. Eyewitness reports indicate that the driver suffered a blowout and lost control after accidentally driving into one of the large holes on the bridge.
Kaieteur News understands that the driver has been detained.
Grieving relatives yesterday gathered at the family’s Grove, EBD residence to offer their condolences.
Mrs. Thorne revealed that it was by a stroke of ill fortune that they ended up on the bridge on Saturday night.
“We were coming home, but the driver went in the wrong direction so he had to turn back and drive through the burial ground.”
The woman said her son was seated in the front passenger seat and was wearing his seatbelt. According to woman she was talking with her son when she heard the driver shout.
Mrs. Thorne said she felt the car leaning over the bridge. The vehicle then toppled into the canal.
“Even before the car plunged overboard, I started screaming for my son, because I wasn’t hearing him.” She said she managed to swim through the window and was pulled from the water by residents who had rushed to render assistance.
Thorne said she was screaming hysterically for the men to help her son who was still pinned inside of the vehicle.
“I was crying for them to help him and when I saw they pull someone out I thought it was my son, but it was the driver.”
The rescuers eventually hauled Elbert Thorne, who was unconscious, from the vehicle. The occupants were all rushed to the GPHC.
One eyewitness told Kaieteur News that the driver was travelling at a slow rate but encountered problems after one of the front wheels ended up in one of the many deep ridges on the bridge.
“All I see is de car look like it stopping li’l bit and then it just went over. I swear this was like a slow motion thing,” the eyewitness told Kaieteur News.
He said that as the car was going overboard, the driver opened his door and attempted to jump. He added that the driver and a female passenger managed to exit the car which by this time had overturned in the canal. The eyewitness said that the woman began screaming that her son was still inside.
Upon hearing this, a few young men plunged to his rescue.
Shortly after the mishap, angry residents blocked the bridge and burned tyres in disgust over the state of the structure which some described as the “death bridge.”
“Last year, a motorcyclist died on that other bridge (adjacent to the Cemetery Road Bridge) and is then them come and repair it. If it wasn’t for that man’s death that bridge would have remained like that,” a resident, Fiona Wilson, claimed.
“The government has turned a blind eye on us. For years we have been making complaints but these people want to see blood before they do something,” another said.
Last Wednesday, US-based Guyanese Christopher Giles almost perished after his vehicle also toppled off the same bridge.
He managed to unbuckle his seat-belt and crawl through the driver’s window.
Kaieteur News was told that Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green visited the area yesterday. In a brief telephone interview, Greene said that the Ministry of Public Works is responsible for repairs to the bridge. According to Greene, he had made several inquiries from his City Engineer and Town Clerk about the structure.
He alleged that despite repeated requests to the Government, no financial assistance has been forthcoming.