A Section B Christianburg, Linden family is thanking God for sparing their lives. They are also asking that the relevant authorities clamp down on the operators of timber trucks and other such vehicles that still traverse the Soesdyke/Linden Highway at night, despite an order by the police traffic department that stipulates that logs be only transported during daylight hours.
Pastor Gordon Bishop and his wife, Patience Bishop, and their two children, Jacqueline and Joel, miraculously escaped serious injury and possibly death when their car, PGG 9161, slammed into a stationary lumber truck in the vicinity of Millie’s Hideout, recently.
The Bishops were on their way home, after a Church meeting in Georgetown, when the incident occurred.
“It was about eight o’clock, and we had just taken the turn at Millie’s Hideout, when I noticed what appeared to be a timber truck approaching.
“I continued driving, being cautious of the truck, and at the same time keeping to the furthest end of my lane.
“Thirty to forty feet away from the truck, I noticed that it was not heading in my direction but was stationary across the road, and I applied the brakes to avoid hitting the trailer, which was not visible until it was too late. There were no reflectors on the trailer to warn motorists.’’ Bishop said.
Patience Bishop reflected, “I saw my life flash before my eyes; I said this is it, as all these horrible thoughts of broken legs and arms raced through my mind. My mouth was bleeding a lot, and I thought that I must have some serious internal injuries.
“My baby flew out my arms and landed on the car floor with the impact, which was probably a good thing, as broken splinters of glass were strewn all over. The baby’s head was full of glass.’’
Gordon Bishop finally managed to extricate himself from the wrecked car, and opened a window to free his family, after several failed attempts by the truck driver.
Although the Bishops are thankful for their spared lives, the incident has severely traumatized Patience Bishop, according to her husband who says she cries whenever she remembers that almost fateful night.
“It was God that saved us,’’ said Jacqueline Bishop
And maybe she is right, as most of the accidents involving timber trucks have been fatal.
Those that immediately come to mind are the October 10, 2007 horrific collision that killed ten persons at Amelia’s Ward, and the other on October 18, 2008, that killed two persons, including television journalist Akila Jacobs.
In both incidents the trucks were either poorly lit or unlit. The Akila Jacobs accident closely resembles this one. Poor lighting resulted in the driver of the minibus, which had taken a media team to Ituni to mistake the truck for a motorcycle, and consequently slam head on into the rear of the truck, which had suddenly turned off unto a side street.
There were strident calls for the traffic department to ban the transporting of logs on the highway after these accidents; and suggestions were made to barge them down river by pontoons.
However instead of a total ban, operators of these trucks were mandated to travel only during the daylight hours. It is apparent though that this mandate is not always carried out, as became obvious in the most recent accident, involving a timber truck which killed Earl Abrams in the wee hours of Thursday morning last.
Abrams’s body was discovered about 5:30 hours that morning at Kairuni, on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway, a short distance from his home.
Perhaps with the new transshipment facility presently under construction by GNIC, at the old OMAI wharf in Christianburg to facilitate river transport for cargo, timber trucks on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway will be a thing of the past, and so would the imminent threat they pose to life and limb.
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