A two-year-old was killed and 11 others were injured yesterday, after a minibus and a truck collided head-on in Linden.
Toddler Malvin Hartman, of Coomacka Mines, Linden, was trapped under the glove compartment of the bus, after it ran into the truck, which was travelling in the wrong lane at the time.
“I tell them look a baby trapped under deh,” said a bus driver, who helped pull the child’s mother from the wreckage, shortly after he arrived at the scene. “Like nobody didn’t even realise that a baby was in front there,“ he added. By the time the child was eventually extricated, he was already dead.
The injured were the child’s parents, Henry Hartman, who was the bus driver, and Suzette Hartman; his siblings, Malcolm, Morica, Myra and Marvin Hartman; a cousin, Ulric Hartman; another relative, Alicia Bristol, 16; and Dexter Daw, Peter DeClou and Chevon Cobis, all residents of Coomacka Mines, Linden.
All the injured were rushed to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), where they were treated for multiple injuries, including head injuries and broken limbs.
The accident occurred at Nottinghamshire Public Road, Old England, Linden, shortly after 7 am. The Route 43 minibus, bearing licence plate BKK 5112, collided head-on with the truck, GNN 2507, belonging to S McGregor, of 10 Water Lily Road, Wismar, Linden. The truck was being driven by Ricky Bakker, who is currently in police custody at the Mackenzie Police Station, where he was taken after residents tried to beat him. Police later said he was cooperating in the investigation.
Giving an account of what transpired, a passenger on the truck, Deon Benjamin, admitted that it was in the wrong lane at the time. Passengers of the truck said that they had cause to stop briefly on the right side of the road and had just pulled off about to cross into the left lane when the accident occurred.
Benjamin said that he and six others, who were in the rear of the truck, had been commenting on the speed of a pick-up lorry, which had just gone past them. “Just as we turned and look back in front of us, we heard the big slam. Is de bus slam into we,” he said. Another passenger of the truck also supported his account.
After the accident, the front of the minibus had to be removed to free the trapped Suzette Hartman. It was at this point that the baby was discovered under the glove compartment.
The bus was heading to Linden from Coomacka, while the truck was heading into Coomacka with workers who were part of a team doing revetment works in the area with the Pioneer Construction Company.
Clavio Hartman said he had passed the truck in the wrong lane of the road. Shortly after, he heard of the collision. “The time I pass dah truck and when the bus pass me, he [the truck driver] had enough time to cross into his correct lane. He move off, but he didn’t cross the road immediately or this woulda never happen,” the man explained.
A sister of the bus driver said she rushed to the LHC after receiving word of the accident. “Mah uncle come and tell me dat Henry crash and he baby dead,” she said, while adding that she learned that her brother’s entire family was in the bus and were all seriously injured with the exception of Morica. “Right now, I confused, ’cause is de whole family. Is only yesterday he come and see me and now this happen,” she added.
The woman said that her brother works in Georgetown and does not usually do short drops from Coomacka to Linden. She explained that at the time he was taking his family to Mackenzie and had offered a cousin and a few others a ride.
Bristol, who is preparing to enter the fifth form of the New Silver City Secondary School, was heading to school to submit a Home Economic assignment, according to her mother. She was distraught and uncertain of her daughter’s condition as she was being denied entrance to the Accident and Emergency Unit of the LHC. “I told them my daughter in there and they don’t want me to go in, I don’t know how good or bad my child is,” cried the woman. She said that her daughter spent most of the night preparing her assignment for submission at school yesterday.
As the news of the accident reached Coomacka, the LHC was flooded with residents curious to catch a glimpse of injured.
Two of the Hartman children were unconscious, while their parents and Daw were conscious but in extreme pain. Both Daw’s legs were strapped and his face was covered with lacerations.
Suzette, Mya, Marvin and Malcolm Hartman were later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital and admitted. Henry and Ulric Hartman as well as Peter DeClou and Alicia Bristol were admitted at the Mackenzie Hospital. The others were treated and sent away.