Driver charged in Cotton Tree school girl’s death

Contractor Mahendra Ramanan was yesterday charged with the death of schoolgirl Jaswattie Ramnauth, who was struck and killed on the Cotton Tree Public Road on Monday.

Ramanan, 36, of No. 2 Village, West Coast Berbice, was remanded by Magistrate Adela Nagamootoo at the New Amsterdam Court, where he was arraigned on multiple charges. He faced charges of causing death by dangerous driving, failing to render assistance and failing to report an accident. He was not required to plead to the causing death charge, while he pleaded not guilty to the other charges.

Reports are that while driving motorcar PMM 8812, Ramanan struck Jasmattie, 9, and her brother, Vijai, 7, both of D’ Edward Village. The girl appeared to have died on the spot while her brother is currently a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Following the accident, the driver allegedly fled the scene after joining the bus which was transporting the children to the Fort Wellington Hospital. The next day he surrendered to police in company of his mother.

Police Prosecutor Corporal Sherlock King objected to bail on the grounds of the nature and gravity of the offence. He submitted too that if granted bail the defendant would flee the jurisdiction.

In response, attorney Tejnarine Ramroop argued that his client, a married father of three, left the scene without rendering assistance because he felt threatened. He submitted too that Ramanan did not report the matter to the nearest police station because he was in a lot of pain. According to him, the contractor visited Dr. Ganesh’s clinic in New Amsterdam, where he collapsed.

The case has been transferred to the Blairmont, where he is scheduled to appear on Monday.

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