A Route 41 minibus yesterday turned turtle several times on Norton Street before landing in a drain, resulting in injuries to at least fifteen persons including the driver, who up to last evening was in a critical condition.
Drinking, speeding and poor driving skills have been blamed for the accident which left the minibus mangled and created chaos as passers-by rushed to rescue the occupants.
Georgetown Hospital sources have given the names of the injured as Seon Ceasar, 31, the bus driver of Stevedore Housing Scheme; the conductor, Deendray Frank called ‘Lil Man,’ 25, of South Ruimveldt; Rene Fraser and her sister Julia Correia of Diamond, East Bank Demerara; Ariel Pollard, 16, and her two-year-old sister, Neia Wray, both of North Ruimveldt; Delon Mentore, 18, of Beterverwagting; Keione Tullock, 16, of Stevedore Housing Scheme; Isaiah London, 11, of Stevedore; Khashana Yhap, 13, of Princes Street, Lodge; Sherma Duncan, 31, of Alberttown; Takica Timmerman, 20, of Riverview; Emaul Springer, 15, of Mandela Avenue; Ray Peterson, 27, of Tuschen Housing Scheme; and Raheen George, 17, of Princes Street, Lodge.
This newspaper understands that at least two persons sought private medical attention.
At press time it was confirmed that Ceasar, Frank and Correia were admitted to the Georgetown Hospital. Ceasar is a patient of the Intensive Care Unit.
According to eyewitnesses, the accident occurred on Norton Street between Louisa Row and Hardina Streets shortly after 5 pm.
The minibus had overtaken a Stabroek News vehicle seconds before the accident.
“When we coming down Norton Street the bus fly past us overtaking three vehicles. Then it swerved from a vehicle coming towards him. He lose control and the bus turtle three to four times and end up in somebody’s yard,” Newton Worrell one of the drivers who was in the Stabroek News vehicle related.
Worrell, along with another driver, Glensford Stephens, were returning to the office when they witnessed the accident and assisted in taking some of the injured passengers to the hospital. Both men said that the minibus was speeding and overtaking before it turned turtle several times and landed in a resident’s drain.
According to Worrell all of the passengers, except for the driver, were thrown out of the bus before it came to a halt. “We assisted three people to the hospital,” he said. One female Worrell described was bruised about her body while another had shoulder and what appeared to be head injuries. The third person, a male, was also severely bruised about his body.
The driver of the minibus meanwhile was said to have suffered a serious head injury. They said that everyone in the bus sustained injuries.
Meanwhile another eyewitness corroborated the accounts of the drivers. According to the eyewitness the bus was heading west along Norton Street and was attempting to overtake a vehicle while another one was proceeding east along the road. According to the eyewitness, the bus “clipped” the vehicle in front of him and spun out of control crashing into the yard of the house located at Lot 9 Norton Street. The eyewitness said that the minibus simply did not have enough space to overtake the vehicle at the time.
One of the residents in the house said that she was cooking when she heard a loud impact. “I thought the house was collapsing,” she said. According to the woman, her daughter who was in one of the bedrooms rushed out and then told her that it was an accident.
The woman’s daughter, who also requested anonymity, said that one person was stuck in the gutter and that another “pitched out of the vehicle.” The woman said that speeding was a problem on the road and suggested the authorities needed to place speed bumps on this particular stretch.
When this newspaper arrived on the scene, a crowd had gathered around the bus which was sitting over a drain. Its roof was badly smashed in.
At the hospital, a crowd gathered as news of the accident circulated. Many gasped at the extent of the injuries of some of the passengers who were crying out in pain.
Ceasar who was brought in a taxi was bleeding profusely from his head injuries and was unconscious.
He was later taken for a brain scan at a private hospital before being returned to the public medical institution. This newspaper was told that he was not the regular driver of this minibus.
His popularity and that of the bus were evident by the huge number of persons who turned up at the hospital. Many were heard say “Seon deh bad bad boy. He deh bad.”
As he was being taken to the ambulance en route to the hospital, this newspaper noticed that his head was badly swollen.
One of his relatives told this newspaper that when they got the news of the accident they were told that he was dead, but when they arrived at the hospital they learnt that he was still alive but was in a critical condition.
Two passengers of the bus related to this newspaper that the driver was drinking and speeding during the journey.
Sherma Duncan said that they were heading to Georgetown from South Ruimveldt.”The bus was speeding and they were drinking and you know how many people come out de bus [after the accident],” the still shaken woman said. She sustained puncture wounds to various parts of her body including her back and after being treated was sent home.
“The bus swerve from the car and the speed that he was going with, he lose control and ended up in a drain. You ain’t see if something din comin what coulda happen to people,” the woman said.
Meanwhile, 13 year old Khashana Yhap said that she was sitting next to the driver when the accident occurred and that he was drinking beer and driving “wild.”
Some of the survivors, Stabroek News spoke with said that they could not remember what happened. Among them was Julia Correia. She cried out for pain in her right shoulder. There was also a visible bruise on her right arm and a piece of wood was protruding through her jeans just above her right ankle. It is unclear if it had pierced her skin but when the area was touched, she cried out in pain.
The woman said she did not even remember what sort of vehicle she was in at the time of the accident or where she was heading.
The 21-year-old who was lying on a stretcher inside the accident and emergency unit was covered in mud. Her hair was wet and muddy and the mud even ended up in her eyes.
Stabroek News was told that her head was stuck in the mud in the drain she landed in and rescuers had to pull her by the feet to free her. Norton Street has been a thoroughfare for minibuses heading to South for some time now.
This is not the designated route for these buses, but the drivers use this street to avoid street lights and speed humps.
Witnesses yesterday said that this accident is an unfortunate one and called on the police traffic department to intervene in the matter. They also said that it was a miracle that there were not multiple fatalities.
Additional reporting from Mark McGowan and Tiffny Rhodius