Fifth person dies after Homestretch accident

-bus toppled after tyre blow-out

A fifth person died this morning of injuries sustained in yesterday’s horrific crash on Homestretch Avenue.

Erica La Cruz of ‘A’ Field, Sophia was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) after undergoing surgery. She succumbed early this morning.  The woman had sustained massive head injuries.

Four persons were pronounced dead and several others are nursing injuries at the GPH following the  accident last evening in which a speeding minibus turned turtle on Homestretch Avenue.

Dead are Coretta Benjamin, 39 of ‘B’ Field Sophia; her daughter Crazel Paul, 8; Peter Mc Lennon, 29 of ‘B’ Field South Turkeyen; and Junior Duncan of Sophia. Paul succumbed to her injuries while in the main operating theatre at the GPH.

Dead: Peter Mc Lennon

Injured are Paul’s sister Delicia Paul; her cousin Renisha Benjamin, 8; Collin June, 22 of ‘A’ Field Sophia; Royston Garraway, 30 of 405 South Sophia; Keisha Thornton, 22 of ‘A’ Field Sophia; Michael and Anthony Lutchman; Jamacia and Sean Archibald, ages 16 and 10 respectively; and Tatian Smith, 3.

Sean Archibald’s condition was listed as critical and he had to undergo a CT scan, while his siblings’ condition  were listed as stable. The Lutchman brothers were reportedly treated at a private hospital and sent away. Thornton sustained injuries to her face.

According to the police, around 6:10 last evening a route 48 minibus [BMM 9888] was heading to the Stabroek Market bus park along Homestretch Avenue, when one of its rear tyres blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The minibus subsequently toppled several times along the roadway before coming to a halt several yards away at the side of the roadway.

Dead: Crazel Paul

Reports are that some sixteen persons were travelling in the bus at the time of the accident.

According to 15-year-old Delicia, she and  her sister  Crazel and their cousin  Renisha, who  is holidaying in Guyana from the United States,  were all heading to downtown Georgetown to celebrate Crazel’s eighth birthday, when tragedy struck.

Delicia, who was seated in the back seat of the vehicle along with three others, related that the bus was speeding along the roadway and when it turned from Sheriff Street on to Homestretch its back right tyre blew out and the vehicle toppled. Paul’s other relatives were sitting at the back of the bus seat at the time. Paul sustained injuries to her left leg and her back, and a bruise to her forehead.

Dead: Coretta Benjamin

June also gave his account of what transpired and he recalled that as the bus toppled, he “fly out” of the window close to where he was sitting. Fortunately for him, he only sustained a few scrapes to his face and a burst lip.

Garraway noted that the bus was attempting to undertake another vehicle when the blow-out occurred. He sustained injuries to his leg.

Benjamin, who was head teacher of J.E Burnham Primary School in Kitty, was the first to be pronounced dead by hospital staff, while her daughter succumbed shortly after. Duncan died around 9:30 pm and Mc Lennon passed away shortly after.

Police at the scene of the accident on Homestretch Avenue last evening. (Clairmonte Marcus photo)

When this newspaper arrived at the scene at around 6:40 pm, the entire Homestretch Avenue was cordoned off by police traffic ranks, as many persons converged to get a glimpse of the scene. The minibus was about to be towed to the police station, and there were shards of glass on the road along with items belonging to passengers.

Chaos reigned over at the GPH, as relatives tried frantically to get word on their loved ones who were involved in the accident. The mother of Sean, Jamacia and Tatian was inconsolable as she was initially prevented by hospital staff from seeing her children. The woman had to be restrained by hospital security and police officials finally granted her an opportunity to enter the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit to see Jamacia and Tatian.

Onlookers gathered at the scene.

Relatives of the Benjamins and Pauls were inconsolable when they learnt of the passing of Crazel and her mother. The passing of the latter was relayed to the family members some time after she was taken to the hospital morgue.

Mc Lennon’s mother stated that her son related that he had several strange dreams within the past several days, and he even recounted to her yesterday morning one in which he dreamed he was involved in an accident.

The mother of Tatian Smith and Sean and Jamacia Archibald (centre) is inconsolable after hearing that her children were in an accident.

Meantime, the driver of the minibus, who sustained a few minor injuries, was taken into police custody shortly after the accident and is currently assisting with investigations.

There have been numerous fatal accidents over the past several weeks.

And the Georgetown Public Hospital today issued the following release on the accident.

“On 18 July, 2011, at about 18:40h, 15 persons were brought to the Accident and Emergency Unit following accident on Homestretch Ave.

Five (5) persons died while receiving medical treatment at the A&E:
1.      An 8 year old female of B’ Field Sophia, sustained head injuries.
2.      An unknown male of African descent, sustained head injuries.
3.      A male about 30 years, of B’ Field Sophia, sustained head injuries, arrived unconscious.
4.      A female, about 40 years old (mother of 8 year old deceased), of B’ Field Sophia.

5.      An unknown female of mixed descent who arrived unconscious, she sustained internal injuries and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after surgery, she however succumbed due to her injuries.

Admitted were:
1.      An 11 year old male, of 23 Crane Housing Scheme, sustained a fractured skull and head injuries, admitted to the Paediatric Ward.
2.      An 8 year old female of B’ Field Sophia, sustained head injuries, admitted to the Paediatric Ward.
3.      A 16 year old female, of 23 Crane Housing Scheme, suffered poly trauma, admitted to the Female Surgical Ward – patient has been discharged.
4.      A 20 year old male, of B’ Field Sophia, sustained head injuries, admitted to the Male Surgical Ward – patient has been discharged.
5.      A 22 year old female of B’ Field Sophia, sustained head injuries, admitted to the Female Surgical Ward.
6.      A 3 year old female of 23 Crane Housing Scheme, suffered head injury, admitted to the Paediatric Ward.
7.      A 15 year old female of 460 West Ruimveldt, suffered abrasions about the body, admitted to Female Surgical.
8.     A 22 year old male, of A’ Field Sophia, suffered abrasions about the body and injury to his right hand, admitted to Male Surgical.
9.      A 31 year old male of 405 South Sophia, sustained injuries to the right foot, was treated and sent home.

10.   A 79 year old female of Agricola, sustained trauma to the body, was treated and sent home.

All admitted patients are listed as being stable.”

Police on the scene of the accident
The wrecked bus

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