A Guyana Water Incor-porated (GWI) driver is now wanted by police following a fatal hit and run on Mandela Avenue on Wednesday night, in which a company sports utility vehicle (SUV) struck a cyclist.
Family members who gathered in front of GWI’s Corporate Complex on Vlissingen Road at noon yesterday said that Claude McPherson, known as “Chippy,” of 169 East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, was struck while crossing the road from his food stall at around 9:45pm. McPherson, who operated the stall two corners from his home, had forgotten his cellular phone at home and was returning on a bicycle to collect it when he was hit.
He was dragged for approximately 100 yards by the speeding SUV and family members said his neck, spine and legs were broken.
He was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) around 10pm on Wednesday by his niece, but McPherson died around 11:50 pm, according to his eldest sister, June Seaford.
The driver of the vehicle sped away from the scene but the number plate was recorded by witnesses. Seaford said after eyewitnesses provided the vehicle number, PRR 2923, she did her own investigations which led her to GWI. At GWI, Seaford said the security guard on duty told her that he asked the driver what happened to the vehicle and the driver said he had hit a horse.
Officials attached to GWI said the driver provided very few details about the accident and had not been seen since he turned the vehicle in.
GWI Public Relations Officer GWI Timothy Austin said the matter is being taken on by the police and GWI intends to fully cooperate with them.
In a subsequent statement, GWI confirmed that the driver had misled the company in his report about the accident. “The report indicated that the accident involved a collision with an animal,” it said.
According to GWI, the driver reported to work yesterday, submitted a written report of an accident and subsequently asked for “personal time” to visit a relative in hospital.
After proceeding on “personal time,” the driver did not report for duty thereafter. Although the company contacted the driver at around 12:20pm via his cell phone and he indicated that he would return to work shortly, he had not reported for duty up to press time yesterday.
GWI said its management recorded the accident and examined the vehicle in question and it launched an investigation, which involved contacting the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to verify that the driver’s account of the accident was accurate. It noted that the GPF indicated that no accident involving a GWI vehicle was reported at the time.
However, the Traffic Department subsequently contacted GWI regarding an incident which allegedly involved a vehicle registered to the company.
GWI agreed to provide full cooperation to the Traffic Department, including granting access yesterday to the vehicle allegedly involved in the accident. It said it also provided all necessary information to the Traffic Department.
“The company wishes to reiterate its commitment to assisting with all investigations including providing the Traffic Department with any necessary information,” the company added. It also extended sympathy to McPherson’s family.
Family members were adamant that McPherson would have survived the accident if the driver of the vehicle had stopped and taken him to the hospital immediately after he was hit. “He just hit him down and kept on driving. How can someone do that to a fellow human being?” McPherson’s niece questioned.
Seaford said that she came to Guyana about a week ago to organise a family reunion and she had only last spoken to her brother on Monday before being told of the accident on Wednesday night.
McPherson, who is survived by his wife and six children, was described as the sole breadwinner for his family. Family members said they will ensure that justice is served.