Trinidad: Mother and daughter killed after car crashed into parked van

Rajendra Basdeo holds a family photo with his wife Lutchmin Rampersad-Basdeo and daughters Aarti and Annurada at his home in Rousillac yesterday. Lutchmin and Aarti died in a car crash on Friday.

(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) FOR the past three years, Lutchmin Rampersad-Basdeo, 52, would leave her Rousillac home accompanied by her daughter, Aarti Rampersad, 25, and drive to Macoya to purchase fruits and vegetables to sell at the Point Fortin market.

On Friday, the mother and her daughter did not reach Macoya as they got into an accident.

Police report that at about 4.30 am, Rampersad-Basdeo was driving a white Nissan wagon along the north-bound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway when near the Chaguanas overpass, the car crashed into a black pick-up van parked on the shoulder of the highway. Police said the van was involved in an earlier accident.

Aarti got out of the car to assist her injured mother, but she was struck by an oncoming van. She later died at the hospital while her mother died at the scene.

When Sunday Newsday visited the family home at Pablito Trace, Rousillac, Rampersad-Basdeo’s husband, Rajendra, 58, cried as he recalled the last moments with his wife and daughter.

“I still can’t believe they are gone. It is hard for me. It really hurts,” said Rajendra who had polio and has difficulty walking.

He said his family has been selling in the market for the past 30 years. “They would usually go to Macoya or Port of Spain to buy goods and I would sometimes go with them in the car. This time, I was not there with them,” he said wiping his tears.

Rajendra said in 2016 his wife and daughter started going to Macoya for goods. “They would leave home everyday at 2 am. They were two of the most hard-working women I have ever known. They were so committed and dedicated,” he said.

Rajendra said on Friday morning he was awakened by the screams of his younger daughter, Annurada, 23. “She was crying on the phone and could not talk, then when I took the phone from her I was told that my wife and daughter died in an accident. I just could not believe it. I broke down in tears,” he recalled.

Rajendra said to learn of the circumstances of the accident was even more heart-breaking for him. “My daughter would have been alive. She just came out the car to help her mother and was killed.” He said Aarti, who was an architect, had been helping her mother for the last three years as she could not find employment.

“She had done an interview two years now and was still waiting on a call from the company.” Autopsies are expected to be done on Monday. Cunupia police are investigating.

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