Highlights — 13 May 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego
20 deaths and countless injuries from road accidents January to April

Twenty people have been killed due to road traffic accidents since the beginning of the year – with 6 of the fatalities occurring in March alone, although some of the individuals who died in March had actually been involved in accidents in February, but survived for a short time before succumbing to their injuries.

Some of the other victims who escaped death suffered massive injuries, and the accidents also caused damage or destruction of several vehicles.

The first fatality to result from a road traffic accident for 2014 was the death of Charles Noralez, who was travelling on his motorcycle from Silk Grass to Dangriga. He was killed at about 6:30 Monday evening, January 6, when he slammed into the rear of a bus that was parked on the roadside. He was thrown onto the pavement and died on the spot.

At about 8:00 Wednesday night, January 15, a 3-vehicle collision occurred on the Philip Goldson Highway between Miles 87 and 88. As a result, Marcelo Damian Aguilar of Concepcion was killed and several others were injured.

On January 24, a school bus ran off the road to avoid a head-on collision with a Jeep that hit the school bus, which was taking children from Orange Walk to the Calcutta Seventh Day Adventist College, and as a result, 8 of the 20 students suffered various degrees of injuries. The incident occurred between Miles 69 and 70 on the Philip Goldson Highway. The jeep was being driven by Eusebio Urbina, 57, a construction worker of San Roman, Corozal District, who was injured.

A Crooked Tree resident was killed while travelling in a boat in the Crooked Tree Lagoon. At about 6:00 on the morning of Friday, January 31, two Coast Guard boats collided in an area of the Crooked Tree Lagoon. Several students from various high schools were injured, and Ben Gentle, Jr., 21, an employee at a call center, died due to massive body injuries.

Less than a week after this tragic death, on Monday, February 3, Ricardo Eustacio Castellanos, 46, an unemployed resident of San Joaquin, Corozal District, threw himself into the path of an oncoming vehicle, hitting the wheel with his head. Castellanos suffered massive head and body injuries and died almost immediately. That accident occurred between Miles 74 and 75 in San Roman Village on the Philip Goldson Highway.

Then, Marciano Tun, 43, was killed in a road traffic accident in San Joaquin at about 9:25 on Friday night, February 14, between Miles 79 and 80 on the Philip Goldson Highway.

Primitivo Torres told police that he was driving his vehicle from Corozal to Orange Walk when on his arrival in San Roman, a man who was walking on the roadside suddenly ran across the road from the left to the right, causing him to knock down and roll over the man, later identified as Marciano Tun.

On Sunday, February 16, about 5:00 that evening, an SUV that was travelling from Grace Bank to Sandhill made a left turn into the Philip Goldson Highway in the direction of Sandhill, at the junction of the Boom-Hattieville Road and the Philip Goldson Highway. The SUV collided with a vehicle that was traveling from Sandhill to Belize City in the opposite direction.

On Saturday, February 22, Tony Hunter was travelling on his motorcycle from Belize City to Hattieville when he slammed into the right rear wheel of a backhoe at Mile 3 on the George Price Highway near the Linda Vista Junction, causing him to be thrown off his bike and onto the pavement. He suffered massive injuries to his head and died almost instantly.

Three days after Hunter was killed, around 8:00 Tuesday morning, February 25, Jose Elmer Villanueva, 41, was travelling in a crowded bus and was sitting on the cover of the engine. He was thrown out of the bus when the bus took a sharp turn between Miles 12 and 13 on the Philip Goldson Highway. He landed on the pavement. He was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he fought for his life, but on March 2, he died of the injuries.

On Sunday, March 2, three people were killed in a road traffic accident. At about 5:00 that morning, Eric John Wade, 52, of Bermudian Landing, was killed after he lost control of his ATV motorcycle and fell off the bike, which landed on top of him, causing him to suffer massive head and body injuries. He was taken to the KHMH, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Wade was travelling from Double Head Cabbage towards Bermudian Landing when the accident occurred.

Wilfredo Jaime and Antonio Mejia of Trio Village were killed in Trio, Stann Creek District, at about 7:00 that same Sunday evening. Christopher Gutierrez, 25, was driving a pickup in the village when he lost control and slammed into the drain, causing the two men who were travelling in the back of his pickup to suffer head and body injuries when the pickup overturned. They were taken to the Independence Polyclinic, where they both were declared dead on arrival.

That same Sunday night, March 2, at about 8:20 p.m., Clinton Pook, 40, a mechanic of Maskall, was travelling with his family to Maskall from Sandhill in his Chevy Colorado pickup on the Old Northern Road when, upon passing the Corozalito junction, an oncoming vehicle slammed into his truck, causing injuries to his wife, his son, 16; and two girls. He reported that when he saw the vehicle coming in his direction, he applied his brakes, but the vehicle still slammed into the truck.

About 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4, Lennox Garbutt, a salesman of Corozal, was killed when his car collided head-on with a Sebring touring car between Miles 6 and 7 on the Philip Goldson Highway while travelling from Corozal to Belize City.

Two days after this massive collision in which Lennox Garbutt was killed, on Thursday, March 6, at about 11:20 in the morning, Jose Flamenco, 29, of Hummingbird community was travelling on his motorcycle on the Hummingbird Highway from Belmopan to Dangriga when he lost control of his motorcycle and collided with the side of a van that was coming from the opposite direction. He was killed on the scene almost immediately.

Three days later on Sunday morning, March 9, between Miles 50 and 51 on the George Price Highway at about 9:00 a.m., Jose Martinez of Ontario was travelling on a motorcycle from Roaring Creek to San Ignacio when he slammed into an Isuzu Rodeo. Martinez died on the spot.

At about 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon of March 9, in Burrell Boom, Linbert Tucker and Ashley Silva, 3, were killed when the vehicles they were travelling in collided. Tucker was travelling in an SUV and the baby was travelling with her parents in a Tracker.

As a result of the collision, Erin Davis, 18, who was travelling with Tucker, suffered massive injuries and was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. He died of the injuries 17 days later, on March 26.

Six day later on March 13, David Aguilar of Concepcion was killed during a 3-way collision on the Philip Goldson Highway. He died due to massive head and body injuries. Several other people were injured.

On March 14, Victor Casanova, 18, of Altamira, Corozal, a student of the Corozal Community College, was hurt after he was slammed from behind by a vehicle while walking with his bicycle in the Altamira area. Casanova was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was hospitalized and treated.

Jesus Chicas, 21, of San Roman, Corozal District, suffered head and body injuries and was rushed to the KHMH after his vehicle collided with another vehicle on the Philip Goldson Highway while travelling from Corozal to Orange Walk on Friday, March 21.

Chicas, however, survived.

The following day, Saturday, March 22, a Honduran man, a welder of the city, Jose Martinez, died when his head was crushed by a dump truck that had knocked him down and rolled over him while he was attempting to cross the pedestrian ramp near the bus stop at Mile 1 on the George Price Highway in Belize City.

On March 25, in San Pedro, a motorcycle slammed into a golf cart, causing Dericka Castro, 24, and two friends to be thrown off the golf cart due to the impact. Castro sustained a scrape to her left knee and lost consciousness. She was later revived at the San Pedro Polyclinic.

On Monday, April 14, Raymond Allen Sedacy of Biscayne was riding his bicycle at about Mile 19 on Philip Goldson Highway when he was knocked down by a passenger bus. He died almost immediately due to massive head and body injuries.

Rachel Chan, 2, was knocked down and run over by a pickup being driven by a boy, 14, on Holy Thursday in Trial Farm, Orange Walk District. She suffered head and internal injuries, but survived. She has since been discharged from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but her spleen, which was severely damaged, was removed.

On Holy Saturday, April 19, Akeelah Wade, 5, was killed when the motorcycle on which she was being give a ride, collided with the side of a city bus on North Front Street. Two persons, who were travelling on the same motorbike with her, were injured.

A mother and her 4-year-old son were killed at about 4:00 Monday evening, April 28. The vehicle they were in reportedly suffered a blowout, causing it to flip over, and Lissa Li, 28, and her son were flung through the windshield of the vehicle.

Li died instantly, and her son died soon after. The incident occurred in Biscayne Village on the Philip Goldson Highway.

Lastly, the following day, on the morning of Tuesday, April 29, 13 prisoners suffered various degrees of injury when the van in which they were traveling from the Belize Central Prison to Corozal hit the rear of an SUV in Biscayne on the Philip Goldson Highway.

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