By Desilon Daniels
A 15-year-old Pouderoyen boy is dead following an early morning accident at Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara yesterday and responding officers are now under fire after they allegedly failed to render immediate assistance to him despite a quick response.
Jamal Archer, of Public Road, Pouderoyen, was fatally injured as he made his way home at about 3am from a night of revelry in Georgetown. The boy, who would have turned 16 on Sunday, had been out drinking with three other friends.
According to the police, the vehicle in which Archer was travelling was proceeding along the roadway, allegedly at a fast rate, when the driver lost control and the car collided with a utility pole.
Police said Archer and two other occupants were taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, while the others were admitted.
But according to eyewitnesses, the police had arrived promptly on the scene of the accident. However, instead of rushing all of the injured persons to the hospital, they took only Anthony King, 14, Ray Khan 16, and the reported driver of the vehicle, Kelvin (only name provided), a man in his twenties.
Witnesses said the police had proclaimed Archer dead on the spot as he was the most obviously injured and had not attempted to help the boy. It was only until almost an hour later that Archer was officially pronounced dead by a doctor at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
William King, father of the injured Anthony King, explained that he had been preparing for work when he was contacted by the police about the accident. After rushing to the hospital, he was informed that three of the four passengers of the vehicle had already been admitted. Archer, he was told by police ranks, was still at the scene of the accident because he had been beyond saving.
King stated that Archer was brought soon after in a police pickup with a hearse trailing right behind. Though Archer had still been breathing, little could be done by the doctors by then. After a few laboured breaths, the youth passed away.
When Stabroek News visited Archer’s family yesterday, several persons loudly berated the police’s actions. “They should’ve taken him to the hospital. Let the hospital pronounce him dead!” one person angrily exclaimed. Another opined that if the officers had responded immediately, perhaps Archer’s life could have been saved.
The circumstances surrounding the accident are still unclear. Anthony, who said that he had been asleep in the backseat of the vehicle when it crashed into the utility pole, was unsure of who had been driving at the time of the accident.
Though the licensed Kelvin claimed he had been driving, eyewitnesses are claiming that Ray had been the one driving the vehicle. Kelvin is currently in police custody.
Meanwhile, the damaged vehicle was dropped at an auto workshop at Plantain Walk, West Bank Demerara. Owners of the business, Frankie’s Auto Workshop, said that the car had been dropped at the establishment at about 10 AM yesterday. The drop off, they said, had not been authorised and was a complete surprise. They opined that the vehicle should have instead been in the police’s custody.
Archer had been living with his grandmother since his mother passed away several years ago. A post-mortem on his body will be conducted today.