-nine others injured
A Route 44 minibus turned turtle at the corner of Rupert Craig Highway and Conversation Tree yesterday morning, resulting in the grisly death of the conductor and injuries to nine passengers.
Arvind Ramroop, 30, of Lot 1 Lusignan, Railway Embankment, East Coast Demerara had no chance of survival as he was trapped when the vehicle toppled, pinning him as it skidded to a halt. In the aftermath of the wreckage, his head which bore the brunt of the impact was severely disfigured. The bus driver, whose name was given as Kumar Boodram, 38, also of Lusignan, remained in police custody up to press time.
The nine injured passengers are Bibi Shira of Westminster, Navin Deokarran of Ogle, Rewina Baljit of Sparendaam, Shamde Mangar of Annandale, Thomati Sukhran of Mon Repos, Raywattie Gill of Lusignan, Rennee Majid of Montrose, Alicia Hendricks and Lachmin Gobin. Stabroek News learnt last evening that Baljit, Sukhran, Gill and Hendricks were admitted while the others were treated and discharged. Gill subsequently took self discharge.
Police said that an investigation has been launched into the accident, which occurred around 10:30am. According to police, initial investigations revealed that motor jeep PKK 545 was proceeding east along the Rupert Craig Highway with motor car HB 4410 behind. The driver of the jeep signalled to turn right into the Conversation Tree Road. As the driver of car attempted to pass, he collided with the rear of the jeep and spun across the roadway. The driver of the minibus BKK 2686, which was also proceeding east along the Rupert Craig Highway, swerved from the motor car and lost control of the vehicle, which turned turtle. Police added that as a result Ramroop and nine passengers received injuries. Ramroop succumbed to his injuries while the passengers were taken to the Georgetown Hospital for medical treatment.
While the bus driver Boodram was in police custody, the other two drivers were released on bail.
At the scene, about 15 minutes after the mishap, there was chaos as relatives and passers by rushed to get a glimpse. Ramroop’s mangled remains were hanging through the window and there was blood and his brain matter on the roadway. Because of the horrific injuries to his head, it was covered with a shirt. Bags belonging to passengers were also on the roadway.
Screams of relatives overpowered the sounds of horns being repeatedly pressed by drivers attempting to escape the traffic build up, which was being controlled by uniformed officers.
Ramroop’s mother, Lilouti, called Rita, was inconsolable and between sobs she shouted for her son’s body to be removed and covered with a sheet. The man’s cousin, Teddie Rambarran, said that the bus was heading to Annandale at the time of the mishap. Rambarran, who also works on a minibus and passed and saw the confusion, said he was told that a taxi “clip he (the mini bus)” and the driver lost control.
Stabroek News approached the taxi driver but the man quickly climbed into the white car and refused to come out. A huge dent just about the left side front wheel was evident. The other driver could not be located, while the minibus driver was whisked away from the scene by police. After nearly an hour, the police photographed markings on the roadway and removed Ramroop’s remains which were placed in the back of a police pick up.
At the Georgetown Hospital, a sizeable crowd gathered to get a glimpse. Relatives who escorted the body were in tears. After the body was taken into the emergency room, the outer door was closed to keep the crowd out.
A man who Stabroek News was told was an older brother collapsed in a wheel chair and burst into tears. In the waiting area, there were three visibly injured passengers waiting to be tended to.
Many at the scene were convinced that speeding and a wet road surface contributed greatly to the accident. Prior to the accident, the area was hit with a heavy downpour.
As recent as last month, the traffic department warned motorists to be careful on the roadways, especially during the rainy season, following a spate of fatal accidents.
However, three passengers this newspaper spoke with were adamant that the mini bus was not speeding at the time.
Rennee Majid, who was seated next to Ramroop, said that at the time of the accident the vehicle was not speeding. The woman said she did not know “how de car jam de bus but the bus turn over on its side” and recalled that at that point “all the passengers started falling on me.”
Another passenger, who was sitting nearby, said that prior to the accident the conductor had his upper body hanging out of the window. He too said that at the time, the bus was not speeding.
Meanwhile, Works Minister Robeson Benn told reporters at the scene that speeding would contribute greatly to accidents of such a nature.
He also said the issue of conductors hanging through windows needs to be addressed. Benn stated that he would await a report from the police before he would comment further on the accident.
Ramroop’s relatives yesterday said that he was a loving and jovial person. His father, Bramanand, said that he was on duty at the National Bureau of Standards when he was informed of the accident.
The grieving man said that his son has been working on this mini bus for the past three-and-a-half years, plying the Georgetown to Annandale route.
He added that after the post-mortem examination on Monday, Ramroop will be cremated. This is the second accident in as many days and Rupert Craig Highway has a history of horrific smash ups over the years.
Eleven year old Austin Lashley was killed on Independence Day around 12:30am, following a two vehicle smash up at the corner of Sheriff Street and the Rupert Craig Highway. His mother and two sisters were also injured during the mishap. Both drivers involved in the accident were yesterday charged.
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