BELIZE, Thurs. Jan. 10, 2019– Numerous car accidents occurred over the course of 2018 – quite likely more than have been reported. Some were minor incidents; some resulted in serious injuries; and some turned out to be fatal. A perusal of AMANDALA’s archives revealed that there have been at least 18 persons whose lives were lost due to car accidents, not including those who were knocked down while walking or riding bicycles, or accidents that involved motorcycles.
A 77-year-old man, George Young, died in an accident involving a bulldozer on January 30. Around 3 p.m. that afternoon on the Burrell Boom Road, a Toyota RAV4 being driven by Young clipped a bulldozer that was being carried on a trailer. The impact caused extensive damages to the driver’s side of the RAV4, leaving it shredded and killing Young.
On March 4, two men lost their lives after their vehicles collided head-on. This accident happened between Miles 32 and 33 on the Southern Highway, at the Red Bank Junction. When police arrived, the two men, James Andrews, 48, of Independence Village, and Michael Martinez, 41, of Santa Cruz Village, were already dead.
Maria Guillen, age unknown, died in a car accident that occurred on March 21 on the Stann Creek Valley Road. She was travelling with 4 other persons, including a 10-year-old, towards Belmopan when, between Miles 11 and 12, a RAV4 being driven by a 17-year-old swerved into their lane and collided with them.
On April 21 around 3 a.m., 25-year-old Daniel Urbina lost his life after he drove into a house which was being transported by a GMC ten-wheeler that was travelling to Belize City. The accident occurred between Miles 42 and 43 on the Philip Goldson Highway while Urbina, who was a resident of Orange Walk, was driving home.
The width of the house that was being carried spanned more than half of the road, and it didn’t help that the structure lacked any type of lighting. Ever Uk, 25, the Guinea Grass driver of the truck, was charged with causing death by careless conduct and driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.
Later that month, on April 27, a fatal car accident led to a huge drug bust. Sometime around 10:30 that night, Ladyville police were conducting a checkpoint at the Burrell Boom junction when they saw a vehicle which was approaching make a turn and head back in the direction from which it came.
The police then set chase after the vehicle and upon reaching Mile 17, they saw that the vehicle had run off the road and overturned. When the officers inspected the vehicle, they saw 2 men and 1 woman inside, along with another man who was under the vehicle. The passengers inside the vehicle all had severe injuries and the man under the car, Anthony Somerville, 38, from Hattieville, was dead.
Police found 21 kilograms of marijuana in the area. The surviving passengers were charged when they were released from the hospital.
On May 7, around 10:45 a.m., Miguel Ayala, 58, lost his life in a 3-vehicle collision that occurred at Mile 32 on the George Price Highway. Police said that 2 pickup trucks and a BATSUB vehicle were involved and that two of the vehicles were travelling towards Belize City while the other was travelling towards Belmopan when the collision occurred. The other persons involved in the accident were unharmed.
43-year-old Leimi Ewan was travelling with her children on the Philip Goldson Highway when she was killed in a car accident. Ewan was travelling from Crooked Tree towards Rhaburn Ridge when she lost control of her vehicle, and it overturned. Her children, a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old, both suffered minor injuries. Ewan was a registered nurse at the Northern Regional Hospital.
On the Benque Road, between Miles 71 and 72, a mother of 3 was killed in an accident and, later, her passenger also died. Neidy Cifuentes, 26, was driving with her friend, Sandra Garcia, 32, and Garcia’s 9-year-old daughter, to Succotz when the vehicle ran off the road and flipped several times, flinging Cifuentes into a field. She suffered massive chest and spinal injuries and later died in the hospital, leaving behind 3 sons.
Garcia, who was also thrown into the field, died 12 days later from her injuries. Her daughter survived, however.
Although the following accident did not happen in Belize, it involved a Belizean. On July 23, an ADO bus collided into a lumber truck in Bacalar, Quintana Roo, about 60 miles from Chetumal. The collision caused major damage to the bus, and minor injuries to members of a Belizean basketball team that was on the bus.
They were not the only Belizeans on board, however. A family of four from Corozal was sitting near the front of the bus and one of them, an elderly man named Alvaro Ascencio, was flung through the window and his body landed a few feet away. His body was so badly mangled that they were not able to identify it, but the family noted that their loved one was missing.
Two brothers were killed in an accident on July 24, at around 6 p.m. between Miles 12 and 13 on the San Antonio Road near San Marcos Village. Four persons were travelling in the car at the time, and two of them survived, but Jamie Archer, 28, and Anthony Archer, 27, lost their lives.
All 4 passengers were flung from the vehicle, but initially, police only found 3 of them. It wasn’t until 3 hours later that they discovered the body of Jamie Archer. The two men who survived were listed in a critical condition at the hospital, but they recovered. It was never revealed who was driving the vehicle when it lost control.
A 25-year-old woman died in a car accident around 12:30 a.m. in Ranchito Village in the Corozal District on September 3. When police arrived, they saw an overturned car on the highway and found Ashanti Rowland motionless inside. The driver of the car, Angel Chan, received severe injuries and was taken to the Corozal Hospital. Rowland was pronounced dead on arrival. They were apparently headed to Corozal Town at the time of the accident.
On September 1, at around 8 a.m., a 62-year-old Seine Bight resident, Japhet Marin, lost his life while he was travelling to Belmopan. He was travelling with Ivan Martinez, 68, when he lost control of the vehicle between Miles 21 and 22 on the Stann Creek Valley Road. The vehicle flipped and Marin was pinned under it. Marin’s family later came to the conclusion that the front wheel of the vehicle blew out, causing the accident. Martinez sustained injuries to his head and his hand, but he survived.
Two sisters lost their lives when the driver of the car they were in veered into the Mopan River on October 6, around 4 a.m. The sisters, Cindy Cowo, 26, and Liarinette Cowo, 16, left their home the night before they died to go out in Benque Viejo with Carlos Martinez, 53.
When travelling back to Succotz, where they lived, Martinez, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, lost control of the vehicle, which then ran into the river. He was able to escape and then claimed that he passed out at the scene of the accident for 3 hours, while the sisters drowned. Their bodies were later found huddled at the back of the SUV, indicating that they had tried to escape through the back.
Finally, on December 8, a police officer was killed when he lost control of the vehicle he was travelling in. PC Kenyon Pandy, 27, was with WPC Chyneque Zuniga and a 4-year-old boy when, at around 3:40 p.m., while they were travelling from Punta Gorda to the Jalacte border, the vehicle flipped several times and landed in the bushes on the side of the road. Pandy died while being treated at the hospital. Zuniga dislocated her shoulder and the minor only sustained a swollen lip.