Driver charged with causing woman’s death in Land of Canaan bus crash

Ronald Balgobin

Ronald Balgobin, the driver of the bus that crashed along the Land of Canaan Public Road last Friday, resulting in the death of a woman, was yesterday charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

Balgobin, 24, who appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in Georgetown, was read a charge which stated that on April 13th, at the Land of Canaan Public Road, East Bank Demerara, he drove minibus BWW 4542 in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the death of Yvonne Mohan.

Balgobin, who began to cry, took some time before pleading not guilty to the charge.

Asked by the Chief Magistrate for his address, Balgobin stated that he did not know it but added that his mother knew the lot number and other information.

Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield later told the court that on the day in question, at about 5.15 pm, Balgobin was the driver of minibus BWW 4542, going south along the Land of Caanan public road, with a total of 15 passengers. He added that Balgobin, who was driving at a fast rate, lost control of the bus while in the vicinity of the masjid, causing the vehicle to topple several times. As a result, some passengers were flung out of the bus on to the western carriageway. These passengers, according to the prosecutor, were picked up in semi-conscious conditions by public-spirited citizens and transported to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre.

Prosecutor Mansfield later objected to bail being granted to the accused, while citing the seriousness of the offence, the prevalence, and the fact that several persons were injured and currently hospitalised in critical condition.

The prosecutor also noted that the accused gave his name as Seeram Singh when he was arrested by the police and gave his address as Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.  Balgobin’s name was verified, however, by his national identification.

Mansfield objected to bail, arguing that the accused, who faced additional charges in the traffic court, would not return to court if granted his pre-trial liberty.

Balgobin was later remanded to prison. He is set to make his next court appearance on May 7th.

Mohan, 52, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, where she and the other accident victims, who included children, were taken after the accident.

The injured have been identified as Anna Chung, a resident of Coverden, Serena Wilson, 12, of Soesdyke Housing Scheme, Shelly Dabydeen, 13 of Kuru Kuru, Rajroop Persaud, 61, of Pearl, Devon Sobers, 35 of Kuru Kuru and a 10-year-old boy.

This newspaper previously reported that the minibus was normally driven by another person to transport school children on a daily basis. However, on Friday afternoon, the individual did not turn up to pick up the school children and Balgobin, said to be unlicensed, volunteered to complete his duties.

He was also reported to have identified himself as a policeman after the accident.

On January 26th, 2015, Balgobin had been charged in Berbice with presenting himself to a man as a Police Inspector as well as with falsely and deceitfully collecting $10,000 from the man. Balgobin, it had been alleged then, had stopped drivers on the Corentyne who were not wearing seat belts and took money from them.

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