Crane woman dies after runaway car hits pedestrians

-driver in custody
One person is dead and two others injured after the driver of a car apparently lost control of the vehicle and ploughed into a group of pedestrians on the La Union Public Road, West Coast Demerera yesterday morning.

Bernice Herbert

According to a police release, an investigation has been launched into a fatal accident which occurred around 9:15 am yesterday resulting in the death of 69–year-old Bernice Herbert of Lot 168-13 Boyo Street, Crane Housing Scheme, WCD. The police stated that the driver of motorcar PMM 1195, which was reportedly travelling at a fast rate, lost control of the vehicle and struck down several persons.

Those hospitalized are 35-year old Wanda Wilson-Ramkissoon and her 55–year old mother Euginie Wilson of Light Street, Crane Housing Scheme. The driver of the car Permaul Ramkissoon (not related), who lives at Crane, was treated and later taken into custody.

Herbert was pronounced dead on arrival at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH), where the injured were rushed following the accident but they were subsequently transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) as no doctor was available at the WDRH.

Wanda Ramkissoon sustained a gaping wound to the forehead for which she had to receive 10 stitches while her mother sustained injuries to her legs as well as cuts and bruises about the body. Late yesterday afternoon the woman was undergoing surgery to her right hand since one of her fingers was severed. The driver of the vehicle sustained cuts and bruises about his body, including his face.

According to reports, several persons were standing on the western side of the roadway at Crane waiting for transportation around 9 am yesterday morning when they were hit by the car which was proceeding in the direction of Parika.

Eugenie Wilson’s husband Randolph Wilson told Stabroek News at the GPH that he and his wife and their daughter, who is visiting from Canada, were on their way to the Parika market to shop since his daughter was expected to depart these shores for North America sometime this week.

He said that they were standing on the roadway along with Herbert when the car, an AT212 Carina, slammed into them, following which it collided with an electrical pole. He said the car was speeding at the time and the driver appeared to have lost control.

Wilson said he was not hit by the vehicle as he was standing some distance away from his relatives and according to him, his daughter and Herbert felt the brunt of the impact. He stated that he made an attempt to ‘jump out of the way’ when he observed the car moving in his direction, while Herbert was backing the traffic.

A taxi driver who transported the injured to the hospital told Stabroek News that   when he arrived at the scene, he observed three persons lying on the roadway while the driver of the car was attempting to free himself from the vehicle. He said Herbert appeared lifeless while Wilson and her daughter were crying out in pain.

A relative of the driver of the car told this newspaper at the scene that the man suffered from seizures and according to him, he was advised by other relatives not to drive for this reason.

Meanwhile, Herbert’s two grandchildren were in tears when this newspaper visited the family yesterday and according to a relative the woman was heading to the village of Tuschen when the accident occurred. According to her grandson, 12-year Mervin Herbert, the elderly woman took care of him and his three younger siblings since they were babies and he noted that their mother left them in their father’s care several years ago. Their father was at the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station to lodge a statement when this newspaper caught up with the family yesterday.

Another relative stated that the elderly woman was ‘like a mother to them children’, while neighbours lamented the loss the family suffered. Mervin and his two brothers and a sister, lived with their grandmother in a small house while their father lives close by with his partner and their son.

Relatives of the driver of the car  told Stabroek News that the man was ‘feeling ok’, when asked for a comment yesterday, as the man slept on one of the hospital benches at the GPH with a police officer in his company.

The man was later taken into police custody while the car was impounded in the compound of the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station.

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