Over one dozen injured after Mandela Avenue collision

The minibus and pick up after they landed in the trench.

Over a dozen persons were injured after a minibus collided with a pick-up truck and landed both vehicles in a trench along Mandela Avenue, just outside of President David Granger’s home.

The Route 48 (Georgetown-Sophia) minibus was travelling east along Homestretch Avenue loaded with about 15 passengers, while the pick-up, belonging to BK International, was travelling south from Sheriff Street into Mandela Avenue, when the collision occurred at the junction.

Some witnesses suggested that the minibus was speeding and the accident occurred as he tried to “catch the light” to turn into Sheriff Street at around 11.30 am, although others denied this.

“To be honest, I can’t even tell ya if the [minibus driver] was speeding because the crash happen before I could blink ma eye,” said Leonard De Abreu, 69, the driver of the pick-up.

“I was unconscious for about three minutes before I heard someone call out to me, and I saw a guy trying to get me out of the car,” De Abreu told Stabroek News at his 31 Essequibo Avenue, Houston home.

De Abreu said the bus hit the right side of his vehicle and after the collision he could not exit. His wife, who was standing beside him, noted that if the trench were deeper, her husband might have drowned.

De Abreu’s neck was injured as a result of the accident and he said that his doctor recommended bed rest. He added that the injury was not serious but he will be unable to drive for a while.

Several persons were awaiting treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital when Stabroek News visited.

Melanie Gomes, a passenger in the minibus, said the bus was not speeding. She said if the driver were speeding, lives would have been lost. Gomes sustained injuries to her face and feet. She also said her chest was hurting.

When Stabroek News left the hospital at about 2.15 pm, Gomes was still awaiting treatment.

Parbattie Ragoobar, 16, could hardly speak when approached by this newspaper. She sustained a cut in the centre of her forehead and her feet were also injured.

Her father, Frank Ragoobar, had a blood stained shirt but he did not sustain any injuries. Ragoobar said his niece, Rose [only name given], was also in the vehicle. He said the girl sustained serious injuries to her feet because she was seated at the front of the minibus. Rose was receiving treatment when Stabroek News left the hospital.

Ragoobar said the driver of the minibus was wrong because he was “hustling to catch the light.”

Dolly Sadik, another minibus passenger, said she was in the backseat of the minibus and described the experience as painful. Sadik sustained injuries to her hand. She also lost her spectacles, without which she cannot see.

“The driver, [minibus] he didn’t going all of that fast,” Kwesi Jones, an eyewitness said.

Jones said the driver told him that he tried using his brakes at the traffic light but it caused problems. After the accident, Jones said he dashed to help the persons who were trapped in the vehicles. He said about 15 passengers were in the minibus and no one was seriously injured.

Drivers and pedestrians stopped to help the injured and traffic was halted briefly until a patrol officer arrived to direct the traffic, Jones said.

Jones said transportation to the hospital was relatively easy and the only hiccup was a young girl who was so traumatised that she was refusing to enter the vehicle of another minibus driver, who agreed to transport the injured. After calming words from her father, the girl eventually entered the vehicle, Jones said.