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COMPOL on fatal RTAs

HighlightsCOMPOL on fatal RTAs

Photo: Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

by Charles Gladden

ORANGE WALK, Thurs. Mar. 23, 2023

Numerous fatal road traffic accidents have occurred over the past two weekends. Of those fatal road traffic accidents, three of them were a result of drunk driving, and six persons lost their lives. Several of them had been traveling on motorcycles when the accidents occurred.

Most recently, on March 18, near Mile 9 on the Philip Goldson Highway, a vehicle being driven by 52-year-old Manuel Ramos, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time, collided with the vehicle of 22-year-old Joshua Martinez, who was seated at the driver’s side of his vehicle which was parked on the side of the road. Martinez was instantly killed and an off-duty police corporal, David Griffith, and another person, Tyreec Usher, were severely injured.

Another notable incident was a quadruple fatality that occurred on March 11 when a traffic collision claimed the lives of four family members — Aldair Tillett, 27; his common-law wife, 27-year-old Felisha De La Fuente; their daughter, 4-year-old Alisha Tillett; and his sister, 18-year-old Janina Tillett.

The family had been traveling on the San Antonio Road out of Orange Walk Town after an evening in Botes when 35-year-old Byron Tillett who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and who was traveling in the opposite direction, collided head-on with their vehicle, killing all four family members instantly, while Byron Tillett also received injuries.

When speaking to local reporters, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, noted that police are emphasizing road policing to prevent drivers from breaking the law.

“We have increased police presence on the highway because we are now focusing a lot on road policing. Road policing entails where the police do not only focus on traffic violations but on every crime that may occur on the highway, or using the highway as a means to get to where they are going to commit crimes …,” he said.

Commissioner Williams also repeatedly expressed caution to motorcyclists who often don’t respect the laws of the road.

“We see motorcycle riders do—they ride sometimes to the middle of the road. You are not a towhead or a bulldozer; ride on your side of the road! And likewise, when it comes to motor vehicle drivers, they sometimes don’t have any respect or regard to motorcycle riders,” Williams added.

Additionally, in reference to the death of 7-year-old Matthew Kraan, who lost his life in Blue Creek, Orange Walk, when a motorcycle that he was riding with his older brother collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle, Commissioner Williams said, “Sometimes it is difficult for a parent to be punished knowing that they are already punished, because of what may have happened to the child, and so people tend to be more sympathetic towards them; but I would like to advise parents, and even those who may have the tendency of giving motor vehicles to children to drive, to desist from doing so because you do put the child at risk, and we don’t want that to happen,” he said.

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