Headline — 05 April 2017 — by Micah Goodin
Pickup with 14 people flipped; 2 dead, 12 injured

BELMOPAN, Cayo District, Mon. Apr. 3, 2017–A Sunday afternoon trip to Placencia turned into a catastrophe which claimed the lives of two persons and left twelve persons with various injuries.

According to police reports, sometime before 2 p.m. on Sunday, they received information of a road traffic accident between Mile 4 and 5 on the Placencia road near the Belize Aquaculture Limited (BAL) Shrimp Farm.

When officers arrived on the scene, they observed a black two-door Ford Ranger pickup with extensive damage to the front portion and a broken windshield.

Police say they also saw two injured women and two men lying on the right side of the road.

Two females and one man were reportedly transported to the Southern Regional Hospital in private vehicles and ambulance.

Preliminary police investigations revealed that they were all in the damaged pickup, driven by Sandra Martinez, 24, of Dangriga, who suffered minor injuries.

According to police reports, she lost control of the vehicle, which ran off the road, overturning several times.

In the vehicle at the time with her were Guillermo Martinez, Jr., 27; Jonathan Frazer, 15; Victoria Sabal, 17; Aisha Ramirez, 16; Alonzo Rodriguez, 8; Misty Powell, 20; Darrington Augustine, 20; and Deshawn Taylor, 18; Tiffany Rodriguez, 22; Warise Emany Flores, 14; Timara Rodriguez, 19; Shanique Rodriguez, 16; and Ervin Santos, 18.

According to police reports, Deshawn Taylor was seen with head and body injuries and was pronounced dead at 4:45 p.m.

Warise Flores, who was scheduled to sit the Primary School Examinations (PSE) today, was also seen with head injuries and was pronounced dead at 5:08 p.m.

Ervin Santos was reportedly transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) suffering from head and body injuries.

Misty Powell, Guillermo Martinez, Aisha Ramirez and Ervin Santos also were transported to the KHMH in serious condition, while Timara and Shanique Rodriguez were treated for minor injuries and released from the Southern Regional Hospital.

The bodies of Deshawn Taylor and Warise Flores were transported to the Western Regional Hospital morgue and will undergo a post-mortem exam.

When we spoke to Flores’ mother, Margaret Cullerton, she told us that this April would have marked the passing of eleven years since Flores’ father, Tyrone Joseph Flores, died in a road traffic accident on that same Placencia Road.

She told us, “I still can’t believe it, but I am trying to be strong.”

She will remember her son as an active boy who loved animals and was an amateur bicycle mechanic.

According to Cullerton, “Every morning he would get up and check if I was alright.”

Flores was reportedly heading to Placencia with his best friend’s family at the time of the incident. He was reportedly seated in the pan of the truck.

He was the 3rd of 4 children.

According to our sources, speeding and alcohol may have been a factor in the accident. Our source also revealed that it is an offence to travel in the pan of a pickup truck without being properly seated.

Police Press Officer Rafael Martinez told our newspaper that the driver of the vehicle has been served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution. However, no charges have been brought against her as yet.

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