–fourth friend in custody

Three men from Covent Garden died yesterday morning when the vehicle they were in slammed into a light pole on the East Bank Demerara Highway near Providence.

A fourth who was allegedly driving and was injured was taken to court yesterday.
Dead are Richard Chinian, 23; Asheeki Asgarally, 19; and Peter James Sookdeo, 23. Farood Mohamed, who survived the accident, was taken to the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court later yesterday, but no charge was read to him because of his ill health.

Dead:  Asheeki Asgarally
Dead: Asheeki Asgarally

Police in a press statement yesterday said they were investigating the accident which occurred at approximately 1.15 am yesterday. Investigations, according to them, revealed that Chinian, Asgarally and Sookdeo were in a car proceeding south along the eastern carriageway when the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the concrete base of a light pole. The police release pointed to Mohamed as being the driver of the vehicle.

The car, relatives of Chinian said, is owned by Lionel Chinian. They told Stabroek News yesterday it was unclear who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. However, they said an eyewitness told them that the car carrying the four Covent Garden, East Bank Demerara men was “jammed” by a “wagon” which was proceeding in the same direction. The “jam”, the witness said was what resulted in the driver losing control of the vehicle and slamming into the light post.
“This canter driver who see what happen,” one of Chinian’s close relatives explained, “say that this wagon overtake the car dem guys was in and he jammed them. Is the jam that he jam them cause them to lose control and crash into the post… the wagon drive away after.”

 Dead: Richard Chinian
Dead: Richard Chinian

When Stabroek News visited the homes of the three deceased yesterday morning relatives could not say where the young men were returning from. The group had been playing a game of cricket in the area on Saturday evening before leaving to head north towards Georgetown.

In a press statement yesterday, the Georgetown Public Hospital said that Chinian and Sookdeo were pronounced dead on arrival and Asgarally died while receiving treatment. Mohamed reportedly sustained a broken leg and head injuries.
The young men leave to mourn many relatives and friends.

Sookdeo leaves behind his 20-year-old reputed wife, Priya Mohan, and their 16-month-old son, Samuel. Mohan yesterday said she was still in shock and can’t believe Sookdeo is dead.

“They didn’t want to tell me what happened earlier,” she said, “but I overheard them [relatives and neighbours] talking about it. They eventually told me he was involved in an accident and that he was injured all over his body… then later they told me how he died,” Mohan added her voice beginning to shake.
Sookdeo, the young woman recalled, spent Saturday playing cricket with friends in the village and “having a nice time”. Shortly before 7 pm, she said, she signalled to him to come home but he never returned.

   Dead: Peter James Sookdeo
Dead: Peter James Sookdeo

“He was playing cricket right outside where I could see him so I say let me leave him alone,” Mohan recalled, “but as it got later I signalled to him to come home but he never did. He told me to take out his food for him and he would come in, in a little bit… he didn’t even eat.”

The last time she spoke to her reputed husband, Mohan said, she had asked him to return early and to pick up some Chinese food, but Sookdeo never came home. Mohan said she didn’t get much sleep and “jumped up” after she had a nightmare. “I saw him [Sookdeo] there in my dream and then he disappeared. I jumped out of my sleep and started to cry. I knew something had happened to him. I don’t know how I will cope with this,” she lamented.

Meanwhile, when Mohamed appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court yesterday, charges were not read nor were details of the accident incident revealed.

Mohamed’s lawyer, Sase Gunraj said Mohamed, was injured and not in a frame of mind to respond to or fortify the court with needed information.
Gunraj told the court that his sick client had been slipping in and out of consciousness because of the injuries he sustained as a result of the accident hence the charge should not be read to him. Gunraj then made an application for his client to be admitted to bail in order that medical attention could be sought along with an early date at which to return to respond to the court.

But Police Prosecutor Denise Griffith argued that since the defendant is so ill and would be unfit to respond to the court, he should be kept in police custody, from where medical attention can also be sought.

 Farood Mohamed
Farood Mohamed

The magistrate who shared similar sentiments with the prosecutor subsequently ordered that Mohamed be kept in the custody of the police.

The man who appeared to be ill did not enter the court room via the prisoner’s chute but was lifted up the stairway by relatives instead. He seemed to be in some amount of pain.

The matter was then adjourned to August 3 depending on the health condition of the defendant. (Additional reporting by Femi Harris)

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