A year after 73-year-old Compton Lacon was fatally run over by a Mayor and City Council (M&CC) tractor and trailer, his family is still awaiting justice while the driver, who had fled the scene, is back on the job.
“I am surprised at this. By now we shoulda had justice. Even if he was placed before the court and the case was still pending one year later, we would have been satisfied,” a saddened Audrey, one of the Lacon’s children, told this newspaper recently.
Audrey, who said her father was snatched away too soon, disclosed that the last update the family received from police indicated that the case file was at the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
On April 4, last year, Mocha, East Bank Demerara-resident Lacon was struck by the vehicle, which ran over his head at Water Street and the John Fernandes Wharf Access Road (which runs alongside Bounty Supermarket), Georgetown.
Police had said that the M&CC tractor, with trailer attached, was proceeding north along the western side of Water Street, while Lacon, who had just bought a birthday card for his son, was walking along the western pavement on Water Street, at the time. Lacon was struck by the left rear wheel of the tractor as the driver was negotiating the turn. He died on the spot.
According to Audrey, several months back, an officer from the Brickdam Police Station indicated to her that the file was with the DPP and that there was nothing much he could do. “Is not a fowl that die,” she recalled telling the rank.
The woman, who said her father’s death changed her life, recalled that after the accident, the driver was placed on $50,000 station bail and that was the last she heard of the matter. She had expected that the police would have conducted a speedy investigation since a life was lost. However, she said that the police’s attitude to the case left her surprised.
Audrey said that the case should have engaged the attention of the court. “Take him to court. We need to know that it is there,” she said, while noting that the one year death anniversary is a fresh reminder of her father, including the last moment she spent with him. The day before his death, she saw him and he was in high spirits when they parted.
Meanwhile, sometime back, one of her relatives spotted the M&CC driver behind the wheel of a tractor. The woman opined that in light of the circumstances surrounding the accident, the driver should not have been allowed to resume his duties until the investigation was completed.
City Mayor Hamilton Green told this newspaper that he was unaware of the stage of the investigation, but noted that based on the information he had received, the initial findings indicated that the accident was not the fault of the driver. He noted that it was suggested that the elderly Lacon was wandering at the time he was killed.
“That seemed to have absolved him (the driver),” Green said. He, however, could not confirm that the driver was back on the job.
Audrey said police would visit her sister’s workplace and ask for a statement, although she did not witness the accident. She recalled that a rank invited her sister to the Brickdam Police Station but she refused. After jotting down the answer to several questions he asked her, the rank left. When her sister checked back with the rank a few days later, she was told that the file was with the DPP. The woman appealed for the police to deal with the accident “in a more serious way,” while reiterating her family’s desire for justice.
While there seem to be conflicting reports of exactly how the accident occurred, one account suggested that Lacon’s shirt was hooked by the tractor, which dragged him several feet. At the time, the driver was on his way to deliver equipment to the pump located at an outflow channel in the Stabroek Area and the Water Street route was one that he used regularly. Persons in the area described the driver as someone who was always reckless and there were reports from vendors who sold in the area that he had been speeding when the accident occurred.
As a result, relatives are clinging to the hope that the investigators will take this information into consideration and pursue prosecution. Audrey stressed that a tractor should not have been using the route at the time of the day, since the street would have been very crowded.