Four years for unlicensed driver who caused two deaths in Land of Canaan crash

Ronald Balgobin

Charged almost three weeks ago with causing the death of a woman, after the bus he was driving crashed along the Land of Canaan Public Road, Ronald Balgobin was read a second causing death charge from the accident and pleaded guilty to both and was sentenced to four years in jail.

The new charge against Balgobin stated that on April 13, at Land of Canaan, he drove minibus BWW 4542 in a manner dangerous to the public thereby causing the death of Ramroop Persaud.

Police prosecutor Gordon Mansfield told the court that on the day in question, about 17:15, the defendant drove minibus BWW 4542, proceeding south along the eastern side of the Land of Canaan Public Road, with about 15 passengers in the bus, at a fast rate.

While in the vicinity of the Masjid at Land of Canaan, the defendant lost control of the bus, causing it to topple several times and some of the passengers, including Persaud were flung out, suffering severe injuries to their bodies. Persaud, according to the prosecutor, was taken to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, where he was seen by a doctor and immediately referred to the GPH, where he was treated and admitted as a patient at the male surgical ward, suffering from head and neck injuries. On April 16, Persaud succumbed to his injuries. Further investigations were carried out, resulting in the institution of the charge.

Balgobin then told the court that he would also like to change his plea to guilty to the charge which alleged that he caused the death of Yvonne Mohan, who was a passenger in the said minibus.

Asked by the Chief Magistrate if he wished to say anything, the accused replied in the affirmative.

Balgobin then went on to tell the court that the day the crash occurred he met a friend and spent the day with her. When he was about to leave, he said he learnt that the original driver for his friend’s bus had not shown up. This, he said, caused his friend to ask him if he could drive the bus, to which he told her that he did not have a licence and was then told that it was the afternoon and  he could take the chance.

Agreeing to do so, Balgobin stated that he went to town and picked up a load and had one person in excess who he put off at Friendship. Whilst going back up, the accused said, there was a car and a truck in front of him. When the car overtook the truck,  Balgobin said the truck was shadowing him and he decided to overtake it. While overtaking the truck the car in front was not giving him space and when he finally got the chance to go in front of the car he suffered a blowout and lost control of the bus. Balgobin told the court that he tried to brace the steering wheel to stay on the road but the bus went out of control. The defendant then said that he couldn’t recall what happened after.

After his recollection of the day’s events, Balgobin pleaded with the court for leniency stating that he was forced into the situation and didn’t even want to drive that day.

Prior to sentencing the accused, the Chief Magistrate stated that she took into consideration his early guilty plea and also the fact that based on the evidence presented to the court he did not drive with due care and attention, coupled with the seriousness of the crime.

He was then sentenced to four years on each charge, however he will only serve four years since the sentences will run concurrently.

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