Truck driver in No.19 tragedy was free of alcohol –police sources

The truck driver in the gruesome No. 19 Village crash that claimed 12 lives was found to be free of alcohol when tested, police sources say. Charges are however to be laid against him shortly.

Nazarudeen Mahinudin

Meanwhile, Salmaa Razac, one of those who perished in the horrific collision between the truck and the minibus at Suzannah Public Road on Friday afternoon was laid to rest yesterday.

A large crowd gathered for the funeral which took place at her home at Main Street, Cumberland in Canje as some persons discussed the horror of the accident.

Iman Mohamed Haniff of the New Amsterdam Masjid told the gathering that “as human beings we would grieve but it was already in the plans of the Creator for that [accident] to happen.”

Chetram Ramphal

He reminisced that over the past two weeks he spoke to Salmaa a lot because he was helping her with her immigration papers and said she was very excited to go overseas.

Leader of the Guyana Islamic Trust (GIT), Haseeb Yusuf extended sympathy to the family on behalf of the GIT and its women’s arm of which she was a member; the National Islamic Sisters’ Association.

Reports are that the accident occurred after the truck: GLL 8863 that was heading up the Corentyne overtook another vehicle and ended up in the path of the minibus, BHH 1842.

Sham Jaggernauth, a survivor of Nigg, Corentyne had told this newspaper,

Janet ‘Pearly’ Baker
Cindy Jaggernauth

when asked whether the driver of the minibus was speeding that, “the man deh going slow, slow.” Sham’s wife, Cindy died in the accident.

He recalled he saw a truck, coming

towards them, overtaking a car and “before you could blink he slam into we.”

According to the police a breathalyzer test done on the driver of the truck proved that he had “zero percent” alcohol in his system.

Police said that driver of the truck; Chetram Moonsammy of Johanna, Black Bush Polder, along with his two

porters left the scene and later reported to the Whim Police Station. The driver is still in custody and is expected to be charged this week.

The last victim to be identified on Saturday was Chetram Ramphal, 37, of Bush Lot, Corentyne. According to Rohanie Ramphal, her brother left home on Friday to take “clothes and other things” to the New Amsterdam Hospital for his son, who was hospitalized.

She told Stabroek News that when it was getting late on Friday evening and her brother did not show, his wife came over to check whether he was there. Since he does not have a cell phone they called the hospital.

Odit Narine Babulall
Josiah Khan

They then called a friend who told them that “he must be still at deh hospital”. So they called someone whom they know, and lives close to the hospital. This family friend called and enquired, but the nurse told that no one brought anything for the child. During all this time the family was unaware of the accident. After further enquiry the nurse asked them to describe the person. This they did and said that he was wearing “a soldier pants”. The nurse then told them that he was involved in an accident and that they should visit the hospital. When they saw Ramphal, his sister said that “he only had some blood on he hand, and no more scratch or anything”.

The other persons who perished were bus driver Odit Narine Babulall, 33, of No.48 Village; two month-old Josiah Khan; the child’s mother Talita Mendonza, 21, of Kildonan; Marques Ault, 13, of Rose Hall; Patricia Asgarally, 28, of Albion; Orlando De Mattos, 35, of Manchester; Salina Juman, 46, of Burn Bush Dam, Canje; Janet ‘Pearly’ Baker, 44, of Warren, No. 19 Village, Corentyne and Nazarudeen Mahinudin, 19, called Nazro of 40 Betsy Ground, Canje.

Five persons survived the crash; Cindy’s husband, Sham ‘Chubby’

Salmaa Razac
Talita Mendonza

Jaggernauth, 40, also of Nigg; Tamika Fraser, 24, of Kildonan; Nicola Ross, 18, of the East Coast of Demerara, wife of the minibus driver, Anwhatie ‘Debbie’ Singh, 33 who was the conductress of the bus and Feona Singh, 14, of No. 11 Village, Corentyne.

Feona, a student of the Corentyne Comprehensive Secondary has been transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital. Anwhattie was the last person to be discharged from the NAH yesterday.

A section of the mourners at Salmaa Razac’s funeral yesterday.
Salina Juman
Patricia Asgarally
Orlando De Mattos
Anwhatie ‘Debbie’ Singh after she was discharged from the NAH yesterday. -
Survivor: Fiona Paramsook
Survivor: Sham Jaggernauth

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