An elderly pedal cyclist is now dead after he was struck down by a minister’s vehicle on Friday afternoon while he was attempting to cross the Cove and John Public Road, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
Dead is Derrick Freeman, 71, of Lot 4 Cove and John Public Road, ECD, who was hit by a vehicle around 5.45pm. Freeman sustained mainly head injuries after he was hit. He was picked up in an unconscious condition and taken to the Mahaicony Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The driver, who has been identified as Dennis Stewart, a resident of New Market Street, Georgetown, was taken into custody and is assisting the police with investigations.
Stabroek News was told that the vehicle that Stewart was driving at the time of the accident, GTT 4080, belongs to Minister of State Joseph Harmon.
According to reports reaching Stabroek News, the driver was proceeding west along the southern side of the pubic road, when Freeman, who was proceeding in the same direction, attempted to cross the road.
The driver is said to have told the police that after noticing Freeman attempt to ride cross the road, he applied brakes but it was too late and he collided with Freeman.
When Stabroek News visited Cove and John yesterday, it was observed that the point of impact had been marked by the police.
Residents recalled hearing a loud impact and upon checking they saw Freeman’s body lying on the roadway.
Ashton Ange Charles, the mother of Freeman’s children, told this newspaper that she attended a funeral on Friday afternoon and she was returning home in a taxi when she noticed the man riding along the public road. “He must have stopped somewhere after that, though, to be on the other side because when the accident occurred he was not on that side,” she noted.
Charles said that based on what she was told, Freeman subsequently came off his bicycle and walked along the road while talking to another man, after which he attempted to cross the road. From all indications, he was heading home when the accident occurred.
Charles related that she heard of the accident after receiving a call from someone known to the family. “This woman (caller) son drives taxi and he called her telling her what he saw and she called me saying that ‘I have some news, it’s not very nice news’ and she told me that her son called to say that something struck Derrick down and he on the road,” she recounted.
She said she immediately related what had transpired to her daughter. However, after her daughter couldn’t gather the courage to go to the scene immediately, Charles said she informed her son. “He left and went and he saw his father lying on the road and the police were there investigating,” she said.
The woman said while they are aware that it was an accident, they are awaiting the results of the autopsy before they decide their next move.
“Although we live apart, he would come here early every morning on his bicycle and he would follow his daughter to school out there [pointing to where the school is located]. Sometimes when she is late, he would give her the bicycle to ride and he would walk to the school and go for it,” Charles said.
Freeman was a father of two children.