A police vehicle was involved in a horrific accident on the Enmore public road yesterday which resulted in the death of a woman and injuries to four other persons.
Shantranie Sookdeo, 68, of Station Road, Cove and John, East Coast Demerara died at the scene of the accident. She was waiting on a bus to go home after leaving the Enmore market a few minutes prior to the accident.
Reports are that the driver of the vehicle attempted to overtake another and lost control, slamming into two pedestrians before toppling. It toppled a second time then hit Shantrine Sookdeo and crashed into a utility pole, before coming to a halt in a drain.
The injured were rushed to Georgetown Public Hospital and among them were Lucille Abrams, 38 of Enmore, East Coast Demerara; Fitzroy Blackett, 22, of Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, and Police Constables Jones and Reece.
Abrams was nursing injuries to her neck, back, legs and shoulders and, according to relatives, she was in tremendous pain. Minutes after she arrived at the hospital, doctors fitted her with a neck brace. The police constables were said to have been nursing minor injuries.
Gruesome details of the accident, which occurred around 2:30pm, were relayed by an eye-witness who described it as “unreal.” Though there are two versions of what happened, persons who assembled at the scene faulted the police and many openly criticized the driver of the vehicle.
There are reports that the police vehicle, which was travelling east along the public road, hit the pedestrians after a near collision with a canter truck. According to this version, the police saw the truck coming and swerved to avoid the collision but ended up slamming into the people standing on the road at the time.
But Sookdeo and Abrams were on opposite sides of the road; one woman was waiting on a bus to the city and the other was going home in the direction of Cove and John and according to an eye-witness, the canter-truck “had nothing to do with the accident.”
The witness, who requested anonymity, told Stabroek News that the police vehicle was travelling at a fast rate when the driver attempted to overtake the other vehicle and lost control. The vehicle hit Abrams and Blackett before it toppled a second time and hit Sookdeo.
Sookdeo was pinned to the pole and after persons rushed over to assist her, they realized that the impact was so severe bits of her flesh were on the post. Sookdeo’s legs were also crushed beyond recognition and she reportedly suffered head injuries, among other injuries.
“It was unreal…this woman was hurt really bad. People hear the impact with her from corners away and when you look at her you could see that she get hit hard,” the eye-witness said of Sookdeo.
Police issued a press release on the accident saying the driver of police vehicle, Constable Jones had attempted to overtake another vehicle when he was confronted with an oncoming vehicle and swerved to avoid a collision. As a result, the police said Sookdeo, Blackett and Abrams were hit. According to the police, the vehicle then stuck a utility pole and turned turtle.
Constable Reece said he had no idea what happened when he was approached at the hospital. “I was asleep and I don’t remember anything,” he related.
Many persons publicly expressed outrage over the accident at the hospital yesterday saying the police were wrong and as a result Sookdeo lost her life.
“I never see police reach on a accident scene suh fast yet,” a woman said, noting that she rushed from her home, after hearing the impact, to find the injured lying on the road. She said police were at the scene “quick time” and started to assist the injured. However, Sookdeo was left lying on the road for a while.
Persons at the scene called for the police to investigate the accident without any prejudice, and for the family of the dead woman to “get justice.”
Basanti Harriprashad, Sookdeo’s sister, wept uncontrollably for about twenty minutes after watching her sister’s body being wheeled out of the hospital compound to the mortuary. She told Stabroek News that Sookdeo left home for market and was waiting to go home when “they tek she from we.”
The woman said her sister was going to celebrate her birthday later this month. The woman leaves five children to mourn; one daughter and four sons.