By Desilon Daniels
Clifton Marks, 22, of Mahdia yesterday became the latest road fatality following an accident along the Linden-Soesdyke highway that left seven other persons injured.
Marks had been in the front seat of a tapir heading down the highway when it collided with a truck heading in the opposite direction minutes after 2 PM. The tapir was ferrying eight persons from the Full Gospel Assembly Bible School who were travelling down from the institution to participate in an upcoming crusade at Bell Vue, West Bank Demerara.
According to reports received, the driver of the tapir had been “having fun” on the roadway and had been previously involved in a minor accident.
Morris Campion, 54, who had been in the tapir at the time of the accident, said everything happened quickly. He said that he had seen the truck coming in the distance but had not been worried about any accident. He had lost consciousness immediately, he said, and had only woke up on his arrival at the East Bank Demerara Regional Hospital/Diamond Diagnostic Centre. He had been unaware of the fates of his friends.
Besides Campion, Kayonne Rose and Troy Boyer were able to walk away from the accident with minor injuries. However, three persons, Akleema (only name given), Fabian Williams and the driver of the tapir, Kishan Singh were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) for medical attention. According to reports, one person, suspected to be Nicholas Budhu, had left the scene of the accident to seek help.
Pastor Nirmaldeo Sarwan of the Assemblies of God Ministries explained that he and his members had been passing when they saw the crashed vehicles. The truck, he said, suffered little to no damage. He revealed that along with the help of public-spirited citizens, the tapir’s occupants had been pulled out and laid on the road before being rushed to the Diamond Hospital. He was uncertain about who was to blame for the accident.
Sarwan commended the response of the Timehri Police Station. According to him, the victims had just been about to be taken to the hospital when the police officers arrived to render assistance. A passing Guyana Defence Force vehicle transported two of the injured persons to the diagnostic centre.
When this newspaper arrived at the Diamond hospital, persons who had been inside prior to the arrival of the accident victims were seen milling around the compound. Stabroek News was told that the facility was closed to all persons except the families of the victims until the emergency had subsided.
After the third victim left for the GPH at 4:05 PM, the centre began administering attention to persons from a service window until Marks’ dead body had been removed.
The compound was in complete confusion as several helpful persons tried to identify the names, ages, and contact information of the injured victims.
Nicola Rose, mother of Kayonne Rose, had arrived frantically at the hospital after receiving news of the accident. Crying out loudly for information, Nicola waited anxiously to receive news on her child. Fortunately, her distress was short-lived as Kayonne was rolled out in a wheelchair shortly afterwards.
Later, when a hearse from the Lyken Funeral Parlour arrived to remove Marks’ body, Kayonne broke down into tears.
Prayer sessions were held in the compound for the well-being of all of the wounded individuals. Pastor Aaron Marks was informed late yesterday afternoon of his son’s death. When contacted by Stabroek News, Aaron revealed that he would be coming to Georgetown sometime today. All the arrangements, he said, are being handled by his daughter in town.
The age range of the occupants of the tapir was revealed to be between 16 and 54 years.