– 133 children, 161 minibus passengers among victims
A nation with a population of around 700,000 loses over 100 of its citizens yearly, due to careless use of the roadways.
That death toll is an alarming 1, 289 in a ten year span, with the victims including 133 children, 161 mini-bus passengers, 95 passengers in cars, and 143 drivers.
The Police Traffic Department released these sobering statistics last week, a day after four people perished in a head-on collision between two cars on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
The statistics between 2007 and 2016 revealed that the year 2007 had the highest number of fatalities. That was the year in which eleven people, including a two-year-old boy, died after a speeding minibus and a timber truck collided at Amelia’s Ward, Linden.
The minibus, BGG 9112, which operated solely in Linden, was transporting passengers from the Linden bus park to Amelia’s Ward, at around 19:30hrs on October 10, 2007, when the driver, who had just overtaken a taxi, attempted to also overtake the truck.
The Traffic Department statistics show that 169 people perished that year. Thirty children, 63 motor cyclists, 30 pedal cyclists, and 32 minibus passengers were among the victims.
That was followed by 2014, with 146 deaths, including 16 children; 2016, with 128 deaths, including 12 children; 2015, with 126 fatalities, including 15 children, and 2010 and 2011, which both recorded 115 deaths.
In July, 2011, five people perished after a speeding and overloaded minibus suffered a blowout and overturned on Homestretch Avenue.
The victims were Erica La Cruz, 17, headmistress Coretta Benjamin, 40, her eight-year-old daughter, Crazel Paul, both of Lot 704 ‘B’ Field, Sophia; Peter Mc Clennon, 29, also of ‘B’ Field, Sophia; Junior Duncan, 47, of ‘A’ Field Sophia and 17-year old Erica La Cruz, also of ‘A’ Field, Sophia.
In the wake of that accident, Peter Mc Lennon’s mother, Doris Doris Anita Shelto, led a protest in the city against reckless drivers. She has since become an outspoken road safety advocate.
On October 1, 2016, Jonnel Amstrong, and his brother, Phillip Armstrong died after their Toyota Rav4 slammed into a truck at Friendship, East Bank Demerara.
What was described by some as a freak accident occurred in February, 2015, when a teacher and six of her pupils drowned, after the car they were travelling in veered off the roadway at Burma and overturned in a canal.
Drunk driving appeared to be a factor in several fatalities.
In February, 2013, an allegedly drunk 17-year-old, who was driving a pick-up, crashed into a mini-bus on the Mon Repos Public Road.
The smash-up resulted in the deaths of minibus driver Godfrey Daniels, 42, of Ann’s Grove, and passenger Shondell Yaw, 36, of Annandale, ECD.
Fourteen other passengers were injured.
In March, 2013, 58-year old Patrick Lester, called “Palace”, of Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara, was sitting at the side of a roadway at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara, when he was mowed down by an allegedly drunk 20-year-old, who was behind the wheel of a Toyota Alteeza.
In June, 2014, an 18-year-old driver, said to be in an intoxicated state, struck down and killed two sisters, Tabithia Latoya Bagot, 19, and Wanita Bagot, 16, and their three-year-old niece Shemaine Cort.
They were going home on their bicycles when they were hit from behind by a Toyota Spacio, PPP 5482, that was heading further up the Corentyne.
In September, 2016, an allegedly drunk 19-year-old rammed a van into a car on Sheriff Street, killing a four year old girl and injuring her mother.
Ambeka Providence, of Lot 133 Dandrade Street, Newtown, Kitty, sustained multiple injuries and perished on the spot.
On July 24, 2016, disc jockey Wavel Sheik Sabsook was killed after the vehicle in which he was travelling crashed, overturned and burst into flames near Distribution Services Limited (DSL) at Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
Sabsook was reportedly hurled from the vehicle and onto the opposite side of the roadway.
The driver, Shameer Mohamed, was charged, but was later freed of causing Sabsook’s death by dangerous driving.
However, Mohammed is to face trial in relation to a charge of driving under the influence.
Last year, police charged 3, 217 people with driving under the influence of alcohol.
The trend of reckless driving appears to have continued into the new year.
Just last week Wednesday, four people perished in a two-vehicle collision on the Linden Soesdyke Highway.
The victims are Louron Mendonca, who was in Linden on holiday from St Vincent; David Primus, Dextroy Griffith and Raul Aaron.
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