Police officers and prisoners travelling from Essequibo to Georgetown sustained injuries yesterday when the bus they were in crashed into the garage gate at Tiwari’s Drug Store at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, while avoiding a collision with a truck.
Seven police officers were injured in the accident. They are Sergeant Elmore Downer, Criminal Investigation Department rank Angela Richards and Constable Mark Thomas, all of the Anna Regina Police Station; Constable Terry Samuels, of the Aurora Police Station, and constables Natola Roberts, Burres Griffith and Collon Retemiah of the Suddie Police Station.
At the time of the accident, three prisoners were being transported in the bus to the Camp Street Prison in Georgetown. They are Rajin Ramroop, 27, of Leguan Island, Sheion Williams, 30, of Queenstown, Essequibo Coast, and Ryan Lakeram, 18, of Johanna Cecelia, Essequibo Coast,
They were all rushed to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, where some were admitted.
Sergeant Downer, who was driving the Pitbull-type minibus BRR 2148 that belongs to the Guyana Police Force, sustained cuts about his face, while Richards, who was seated in front, and Thomas each sustained a broken right leg.
Williams sustained a huge gash to her right knee and Ramroop sustained injuries to his right leg. The five have been transferred to the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH).
Lakeram, who sustained minor injuries, was treated and discharged along with the driver and lone occupant of the truck, Reuben McIntosh, 54. They are both in custody at the Leonora Police Station.
A senior police officer told Stabroek News that McIntosh, of East Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara, was turning the truck into the estate road when the accident occurred.
He said McIntosh claimed that he heard the siren of the minibus, but by the time he looked it was too late. The police source also said that the truck driver “tried his best to avoid a collision.”
According to an eyewitness, the minibus was travelling at a fast rate but the driver still managed to take “evasive action and avoid hitting a group of workers and schoolchildren that were standing at the roadside.”
Williams recalled that she was in the third seat of the bus when she saw the truck reversing and the next thing she knew was the bus slamming into the steel gate.
She said her knee was pinned under the minibus seat and there was a struggle to get it out.
One of the officers, who did not wish to be named, said they had crossed with the 5am ferry and were proceeding along the roadway when the truck came into their path.
He recounted that the “bus pull from the truck and ran into the drug store.”
Owner of Tiwari’s Drug Store & Medical Clinic Tullaram Tiwari said he was praying when he heard a loud sound but he paid no attention to it. Shortly after, his daughter told him, “Dad, there is a bus in the garage.” It was only then that he realised where the sound came from.
He ran out to investigate and heard the police officers and prisoners “hollering in pain, some were pinned down, blood was oozing all over the place and guns were on the ground.”
He said a pick-up came as well as an estate tractor and tried to wrench open the badly mangled minibus to free them.
The police as well as officers from the Leonora Fire Service arrived and assisted in getting the injured out and taking them to the hospital.
Tiwari observed that the foot of one of the police officers was “twisted around. From the way they were hollering, it looked like they were badly hurt.”
He said the accident marked the third time that a vehicle has crashed into his building. On one occasion, two of his cars that were in the garage were damaged.
This time, there was a car in the garage, but it remained intact. However, the wall in his shop was damaged as was a shelf.
According to the businessman, he was forced to erect short barriers in front of his premises and he was relieved that they helped to prevent more serious injuries and damage yesterday.