Headline — 31 July 2015 — by Albert J. Ciego
Celebrated 35th birthday, then drowned in New River

ORANGE WALK TOLL BRIDGE, Orange Walk District, Thurs. July 30, 2015–Leonel Guerra, 35, well-known manager of Guerra’s Construction, of Santa Martha Street, Orange Walk Town, died this morning at about 3:30 when his vehicle ran off the Orange Walk Toll Bridge and took the long plunge into the New River, which runs below.

Reports are that Guerra was celebrating his birthday in Belize City yesterday and was travelling back to Orange Walk Town this morning when on his arrival at the Orange Walk Toll Bridge, he lost control of the pickup in which he was travelling.

The vehicle hit the protective rail of the bridge, breaking the rail, and the truck fell off the left side of the bridge. It landed in the river with its four wheels up, a part of it submerged.

People in the area who were alarmed by the loud bang when the pickup hit the guard rail came out to see what had happened, and when they saw the vehicle in the water, they called police, who found Guerra trapped in the vehicle, already dead.

Police reported that at about 3:30 this morning they went to the Orange Walk Toll Bridge in Tower Hill, where on their arrival they saw a 4-door pickup truck partially submerged in the river about 3 feet from the riverbank, and the truck was overturned, with 4 wheels up in the water.

They accessed the cab of the truck where they saw the driver, who was identified as Leonel Guerra, who was trapped in the cab of the truck and he was already dead.

Police believe that speed and excessive alcohol consumption contributed to the tragic collision which led to the death of the contractor.

Guerra is the fifth person to die as a result of a traffic accident on one of our highways within three weeks.

The deaths began on July 14. At about 8:50 p.m. Johan Kelsen and his family were travelling on the San Felipe Road in the Orange Walk District, in a horse-drawn buggy when a pickup truck travelling in the same direction crashed into the rear of the buggy. Kelsen died on the scene almost immediately due to massive head and body injuries.

The next day at about 6:30 a.m. on July 15, Cornelio Martinez, 60, was travelling on his motorcycle on the Southern Highway near Santa Rosa Village, when he lost control and ran off the road and slammed into the drain. He died immediately.

On July 20, Lucas Teul, 20, of Independence was travelling on his motorcycle when at about half a mile from Independence, he ran off the road and crashed into a ditch, He died almost immediately.

At about 8:00 Friday night, July 24, Miguel Angel Cruz was riding his bicycle on the George Price Highway in the area of Mile 13 when a vehicle knocked him down and he died almost immediately due to massive head and body injures.

Leonel Guerra graduated from Muffles College and was employed as a contractor at the Guerra Construction Company.

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