More than a dozen persons were injured yesterday afternoon when a speeding Route 44 minibus trying to beat the red light collided with a car at the corner of Camp and Lamaha streets before plunging head-on into the canal.
Public-spirited citizens rushed to the scene and rescued at least 15 passengers from the bus, BKK 7359, who were soaked and covered with mud. They were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital and treated for minor cuts, bruises and trauma to parts of their bodies.
Among those receiving treatment are Deshane Pitt, the driver of the car; the conductor and driver of the minibus; along with Donnetta Sullivan and Intakar Ali.
Based on the accounts given by this newspaper, the car PKK 8391 which is contracted to Stabroek News was heading east along Lamaha Street just after 5 pm and had stopped at the Camp Street junction waiting for the traffic light to change. The minibus, which was heading to the East Coast Demerara (ECD) was travelling on Camp Street and failed to stop. The driver of the minibus, based on the accounts of several passengers and eyewitnesses, increased his speed as the traffic light changed to amber, with the intention of getting through before it changed to red. He did not succeed and the bus collided with the car in the middle of Camp Street, spun into a concrete bridge, uprooted the traffic light and plunged into the trench. The car spun several times and crashed into a lantern post.
A shivering and visibly traumatized Donnetta Sullivan told this newspaper outside the emergency room that the “light was at number two saying amber… right before the corner; he was trying to ketch it”. The Stratsphey, ECD resident said that everyone knows this is the regular behaviour of that driver. “Is not de fus time I travel with he but apparently the light on Camp Street changed to green and he couldn’t stop. Yes the bus was wrong,” she said angrily.
Intakar Ali, who was heading to Victoria, said he was a front seat passenger of the bus and recalled seeing amber light. He said that there was a countdown but could not recall which number it was at.
A large crowd gathered at the scene obstructing traffic for about half as hour. Many who witnessed the accident said that the minibus driver was at fault and lamented how lives could have been lost as a result of his recklessness.
One very vocal woman said, “I am a driver for many years and I am saying that he was wrong,” she added that in addition to the minibus speeding, the light had already changed to red and he could not have spotted in time.
Pitt was crying out for pain in the head and arm and said he could not recall what transpired. Brian La Fleur a Stabroek News staffer who was in the vehicle at the time recalled that as soon at the traffic light changed to green, Pitt pulled off.
Police later arrived on the scene and removed the two mangled vehicles.