Headline — 03 July 2015 — by Kareem Clarke
The greatest love of all

SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Cayo District, Thurs. July 2, 2015–Parishioners of the Spring of Living Water Pentecostal Church of God on the outskirts of San Ignacio Town are mourning the loss of fellow church member, Myra Carbajal, 38, of San Ignacio, who died as a consequence of a tragic freak accident that occurred outside their church last night.

Police said that at around 8:20 p.m. yesterday, Wednesday, they were called out to the aforementioned church, which is located near Mile 59 on the George Price Highway, where they observed Carbajal pinned under the front portion of a blue pickup which had hit a large metal sliding gate, along with five other persons – including one adult and four children, three of them hers – who were suffering from varying degrees of superficial injuries, at the entrance of the church.

Carbajal – who was at the time positioned between the vehicle which had run into the gate and the church building – was extracted from the wreckage with the assistance of police officers and civilians, and rushed to the San Ignacio Town Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries later that night while undergoing treatment.

Heroic mother, 38, crushed by falling church gate while protecting her children. A parked vehicle somehow “started” and slammed into the church’s metal gate, which fell on top of the mother, causing her death

Investigators later learned that when the church service had concluded shortly after 8:00 last night, the female driver of the pickup – which was parked outside in front of the church gate – got into the vehicle which suddenly lurched forward, knocked down the gate and pushed it in the direct path of a group of adults and children who had been socializing in the yard beside the church.

“Apparently, when she saw the vehicle coming towards the children, she managed to push them out of the way so they were not gravely injured; [however] Ms. Myra ended up being trapped between the [church] building and the vehicle and that is what caused the fatal injuries to the upper part of her left hip,” Deputy Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police, Inspector Reymundo Reyes, told Amandala today.

The heroic move by the churchgoing mother of four has been lauded by her colleagues and the unfortunate incident is widely believed to have happened because the vehicle – which uses standard transmission – was in gear when its driver got in and tried to turn on the ignition with the intention of reversing onto the highway, and instead, it went forward, crashed into the gate and shoved it into the unsuspecting crowd.

The driver of the pickup told police that she did not attempt to start the vehicle, and that when she entered it and closed the door, the gear was in neutral, so it simply moved off by itself when she pressed the clutch.

Eyewitnesses, however, have reported that they heard the vehicle’s engine – suggesting that there was an attempt to start the truck – and then heard the impact, and that when they turned their attention to the scene, they saw what had unfolded.

As a result of those conflicting accounts, Reyes said that they are “looking into that aspect of the investigations” to ascertain what actually took place.

If investigators gather enough evidence to substantiate those eyewitness reports, the driver – who has since been served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution – will face charges of manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, and driving without due care and attention.

Church officials told us that they were unable to comment on the matter based on instructions from Carbajal’s husband, who also declined an interview today.

They did say that her family and friends are very distraught by what happened, and noted that she prayed incessantly from the time of the accident up until the time of her death.

We understand that the victim had four children, three girls and one boy, aged between 5 and 13 years – three of whose lives were spared when she made the decision to shelter them and take the brunt of the impact from the unforgiving avalanche of metal. The fourth child was not in the immediate vicinity of the accident.

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