An eight-year-old with a fractured skull is among four persons who are now hospitalised after the collision along the Number 19 Public Road on Thursday night.
Shariza Khairoodin, who reportedly sustained the severest injuries, was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital late on Thursday. Her sisters Nesha, 13, and Fazeela, 10, and another relative, Ryan Garib, also 10, have been admitted at the New Amsterdam Public Hospital with broken ankles and other injuries. They are said to be stable.
Police yesterday said that the drivers of a bus, in which the children were travelling, and the truck that was towing a trailer that the bus crashed into, were both in custody. The driver of the bus, it was noted, failed a breathalyser test.
Stabroek News was told that 14 persons were travelling in minibus BNN 9791 along the Number 19 Public Road heading further up the Corentyne area when it collided with the trailer, which was attached to the back of the truck, around 8 pm.
Mohamed Shafraz Khairoodin, 43, of Lot 250 Topoo Village, Corentyne, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the bus at the time of the collision, told Stabroek News, that the bus was proceeding at a normal rate, when suddenly they a saw bright light approaching, after which they slammed into “something” and came to an abrupt halt.
Khairoodin explained that around 5 pm on Thursday afternoon they had taken his wife to the New Amsterdam Public Hospital due to stomach pains she was experiencing. He noted that the driver of the bus, who is related to his wife, had taken them to hospital, since they were all having a “family get together” earlier in the day. He confirmed that they had been drinking before heading to the hospital. The driver subsequently picked them up at 7 pm to transport them home. However, he said, “He [the driver] nah been drink too much so that he couldn’t a drive, he barely drink.”
Khairoodin added that he strongly believes that had the bus driver been speeding, lives would have been lost in the collision. “All I see a vehicle coming and the man light very bright and is the bright light wah blind he, the bus nah topple or nothing. If he been a drive fast abie been dead,” the injured man noted.
Khairoodin sustained a laceration to his foot and several other cuts and bruises about his body.
In addition to the bus driver, Khairoodin, his wife Chitranie Narine, 44, their daughters Nesha, Fazeela, and Shariza, and their son Fardeen, three; Dinesh Looknauth, 26, along with his son, Keshan, five, and daughter Yashti, three; Nalinie Basdeo, 26, Ryan Garib, 10, Shakti Garib, nine, and Neelam Garib, seven, who are all related, were aboard the bus at the time of the accident.
The senior Khairoodin had also stated that the children were sitting “in the middle of the bus.” “The driver barely get knock. “Is me side get the most knock,” he added. Dinesh Looknauth also sustained a cut on his head and bruises about his body, while his daughter, Yashti, experienced swelling of her head, which she hit in the accident.
Meanwhile, Stabroek News, was told that breathalyser tests were administered to both drivers and while the driver of the truck, who hails from Nigg Settlement, Coren-tyne, Berbice, was not found to have any alcohol in his breath, the driver of the bus, who is from Timehri, was found to be above the legal limit.