Three persons were killed and six others were left hospitalised early yesterday morning when a vehicle filled with party-goers crashed into two parked trucks along the Golden Grove Public Road, West Coast Berbice.
Dead are Tommy Thomas, 23, of St John Street, New Amsterdam; Jeron James, 19, who was a soldier of Amsville Housing Scheme, New Amsterdam, and an unidentified male.
They had been among a group of nine persons travelling in the same Toyota Raum vehicle around 12.45 am, when the accident occurred.
The others in the vehicle were driver Devon Pydana, 28; Brian Simion, 26; Janet Blackman, 28; Danielle Toney, 19; Llewanna Ross, 17; and Jamica Munroe 18, all of New Amsterdam. All of them except Munroe remained patients at the New Amsterdam Hospital up to last evening. Munroe, who was said to be in critical condition, was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
The cause of the accident remained unclear yesterday and during the visiting hours friends and family of the injured flocked their beds to find out what had occurred. This publication was told that it appeared as if they were under the influence of alcohol.
According to the police statement on the accident, Pydana was allegedly speeding along the road when he lost control of the vehicle and collided with two parked trucks.
As a result of the collision, police said, Pydana and the other occupants suffered injuries and were taken to the Fort Wellington Hospital, where Thomas, James and the unidentified male were pronounced dead on arrival.
Stabroek News was told that the group had attended a barbecue at Stanleytown, New Amsterdam. The group then visited a pool party at Mount Sinai and then moved on to a popular club in New Amsterdam. However, after not finding much action at the club, they left for an entertainment centre called Te Amo on the West Coast Berbice.
Stabroek News was told that responders found the passengers sandwiched in the crushed vehicle after the accident. As a result, some rescuers were reported to have been forced to make use of wooden bars to remove some of the victims from the wreckage.
Meanwhile, the families of Thomas and James were both overwhelmed by shock and grief at their sudden deaths.
At Thomas’s home, his mother, Carla Bentham, said that her son left home around 8:30 PM for the barbecue at Stanleytown. He told her he would return home shortly after and that was the last conversation they had.
It was a cousin, Omari Bentham, who delivered the tragic news to the family after he encountered the scene of the accident while returning home from the city after a football game.
After realising he was familiar with the driver of the car, he immediately rushed to the Fort Wellington Hospital, where he was greeted at the gate with news that Thomas was involved in the accident.
He said he tried to catch a glimpse of all those who were injured and noticed doctors and nurses attending to the patients except one. He was later able to identify Thomas. Afterward, although in disbelief, he telephoned his family in New Amsterdam and informed them of the tragedy.
Bentham also noted that at the scene he observed many persons picking up personal items that belonged to the victims. He said persons picked up clothing, footwear and cellular phones.
Mourners also flocked the home of James’s grandparents to offer their condolences last night. A cousin, Junior Gulliver, explained that James grew up with his grandparents and after joining the army he would return home every weekend.
However, on Sunday he left home around 3.30 pm to go to a basketball game and never returned home.
James, who was positively identified yesterday morning, was scheduled to return to board an army bus and head back to work
yesterday. Gulliver said after they had not seen him return and were hearing suggestions that he was involved in the accident, they ventured to the Fort Wellington Hospital to check if he was there. Once there, they learned he had died.
James had joined the army about eight months ago.
Meanwhile, the unidentified male is believed to have been a Canje Creek youth who also been staying in New Amsterdam.
Munroe’s aunt Rosanta Munroe said she was told that her niece was seated in the passenger side when the car struck the parked truck. She said she received a call around 5 am yesterday and she was told that Jamica was involved in serious car accident.
She stated that Jamica sustained injuries to her head, neck and chest. Yesterday afternoon she was transferred to the female ward in the hospital.
This is the second accident in the Region Five that has claimed multiples lives since the start of the year.
On February 20, at Burma Road, a teacher and six students of the Augsburg Primary School died after the vehicle they were travelling ended up in a canal alongside the road.
The cause of that accident remains undetermined.