South Rd mechanic Gonsalves dies in East Bank collision

Popular city mechanic Errol Gonsalves yesterday met a gruesome end after he collided with a minibus, while riding along the public road at Farm, East Bank Demerara (EBD).

Gonsalves, 50, popularly known as ‘Bamsy’ and whose address was given as Lot 238 South Road, Bourda, Georgetown, died while 15-year-old Aneefa Mohammed, of Agricola, EBD, sustained a fractured jaw in the accident.

Gonsalves and Mohamed were taken to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, where the former was pronounced dead on arrival. Mohamed was later referred to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where she has been admitted.

Errol Gonsalves

According to the police, around 12:15 pm yesterday, the driver of minibus BLL 939 was allegedly proceeding along the roadway at a fast rate, lost control of the vehicle and collided with the rear of the motorcycle Gonsalves was riding at the time. Mohammed was struck down in the process.

However, persons at the scene told Stabroek News that Gonsalves was travelling south along the public road in the direction of Timehri. He was on a Yamaha CBR motorcycle, bearing registration CF 0992, when he attempted to overtake a 30-seater Route 43 bus, close to the entrance leading to the Bougainvillea Park housing scheme. They said he subsequently collided with the minibus, which was about to turn onto a nearby bridge from the next lane.

According to an eyewitness, Gonsalves was heading south, some 200 metres from the scene of the accident, travelling at a fast rate and “dodging the traffic.” He said, “the way this man been riding, I thought he had wings and when I look up I see this small bus about to turn into the housing scheme.”

The mangled remains of the motorbike Errol Gonsalves was riding at the time of the accident being towed away from the scene.

The witness said that the Route 43 bus was at the head of the line of traffic ahead of him at the time and had stopped close to the bridge leading to the housing scheme to allow another minibus, which was heading north along the roadway, to turn into the housing area. The man noted that as the minibus turned into the housing area, “this bike man try fo slip in between the two buses but it was impossible… He had to have wings… He just couldn’t cheat death.”

The bike slammed into the rear left side of the minibus belonging to the Bounty Meat Centre, which was at the time turning into the housing scheme to drop off a staff member. According to a resident of the housing area, he was waiting to cross the road when, “the bike just appear from behind the Linden bus and slam into the side of da lil bus wah de turning into de scheme.”

Gonsalves’ lifeless body was picked up by staff of the nearby Caribbean Containers Inc (CCI) paper factory and rushed to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre.
Mohammed, who had moments earlier crossed the road and was awaiting transportation to travel up the EBD, was picked up from the nearby trench and she too was rushed to the Diamond hospital.

At the scene, passersby looked on in horror as the police attempted to control traffic along the busy roadway. The bike remained under the minibus for close to an hour before it was finally removed by a tow truck. Relatives remained mum at the scene. One man, said to be a cousin of Gonsalves, would only say that the man was heading up the EBD to visit relatives.

At the hospital, relatives and friends converged in large numbers as news of the man’s death spread. The man, according to reports, was a well-known, much sought after mechanic and had been dubbed over the years “the Honda mechanic”. His wife, who identified the body at the hospital, along with other relatives, wept uncontrollably.

The driver of the minibus, meantime, was being questioned by ranks at the Providence Police Station late yesterday afternoon.

A police traffic rank looks at the mangled wreck of Errol Gonsalves’ motorcycle at the scene of the accident yesterday. Inset at top right is Errol Gonsalves. (Photo by Alva Solomon)

Gonsalves’ death came one day after Jermaine Frank, 21, and Raymond Ally, 26, died after the car they were in plunged into a trench near the Houston/Meadow Bank turn near Banks DIH. Ally, a popular race car driver, was said to be racing at the time with the occupants of another car when the incident occurred.

There have been several road accidents since the year began and the police traffic department has been urging motorists to exercise caution when driving along the roads. On January 1 this year, Mark Seecharan, 30, was killed after he was struck down by a motor car while he cycled along the Good Hope, East Coast Demerara (ECD) Public Road with his wife in tow. His wife survived the accident while the driver of the car is currently before the courts.

And last Tuesday, two persons met their demise following separate road accidents at Victoria on the ECD and at Sarah Johanna on the EBD. Andrew Hanover, 45, of  Victoria, ECD was  struck down by a motor car as he walked along the public road close to his home while Vishan Seeram, 20, died after the driver of a minibus he was travelling in lost control of the vehicle and it subsequently slammed into a utility pole.

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