A Triumph man was killed, two women hospitalized and several others injured when a minibus ran off the Public Road at Hope, East Coast Demerara (ECD) late Monday night and crashed into a bridge before landing in a trench.
Dead is Dugra Bhimraj, 40, of Lot 166 Agriculture Road, Triumph, ECD, who had been driving and may have suffered a medical emergency just prior to the crash. He sustained injuries to his head and other parts of the body, hospital sources said.
Mahadai Gangaram, 43, of Lot 85 Block CC, Mon Repos, ECD and Sally Latchman of Block 8, Mon Repos, are both patients of the High Dependency Unit suffering from fractured hips and broken limbs.
Gangaram’s husband Nandaram, Vishanti Deodat and Patima Ralph of Lot 113 Block CC Mon Repos were seen by a doctor and sent home. Several others also had minor injuries.
Reports reaching Stabroek News were that Bhimraj, who owned the minibus, was hired for a return trip from Mon Repos to Cane Grove, Mahaica. He was driving back to the lower East Coast just after 11 pm when tragedy struck.
The minibus, this newspaper was informed, was transporting 16 people, including some small children. Two cars with relatives of those in the bus were ahead of the bus, proceeding in the same direction.
Stabroek News was told that a passenger in the front seat suddenly noticed that the driver was in a slumped position and he grabbed the steering wheel in an effort to control the minibus. He may have been too late as the bus then crashed into a bridge and landed in a trench.
Moments before the accident, the three vehicles had stopped at a police roadblock.
A passenger in one of the two cars that were travelling in front of the minibus told this newspaper that he was informed that Bhimraj might have suffered a heart attack just before the impact. A post-mortem examination is expected to be performed today on Bhimraj’s remains.
At Bhimraj’s home yesterday, relatives were preparing for a wake and were discussing the tragedy.
His wife, Kamini, said she last spoke to her husband at 10 pm, when he assured her that he was going home to eat dinner with her. Tears welling in her eyes, she said that her husband was a good driver and had never been involved in an accident for all of the 20-odd years he had been driving.
She said she received a call at 11.10 pm informing her of the accident but when she arrived at the hospital, he was already dead.
According to Kamini, the doctor asked her if her husband drank and she replied in the negative. She stressed that her husband never drank when he was working.
She said she was told that the police stopped him at Hope and after speaking with them, he drove off. She said the bus crashed a short distance away. She said she went to the Cove and John to check the vehicle yesterday and saw damage to the driver’s side; the front windscreen was also broken.
Parbattie Persaud, one of the survivors, told Stabroek News at her Mon Repos home that 16 persons inclusive of children and the driver boarded the bus at Mahaica. She recounted that as the bus was making a turn at Hope, it suddenly started to sway. She said they called out to the driver but got no response.
“I can’t explain what happened. Things happened so fast. All I know is that he ended up in the canal,” she said, twisting in pain.
She said that after the accident, she struggled to free herself since her husband was travelling in a car, which was ahead of the bus and there are no streetlights at the area were the accident occurred.
This newspaper understands that after the victims were taken to hospital, the minibus was stripped of all its lights and the valuables of the passengers including handbags and cellular phones.
Persaud complained of being ignored by medical personnel at the hospital. According to her, no one bothered to look at her or an 11-year-old so they just left.
She said attention was only being given to those who were seriously injured. Persaud said she later visited a private doctor and an x-ray was done and it is believed that she has a fracture on her skull. She said there was also blood in her urine and she was experiencing pain in her side.