General — 20 February 2019 — by Albert J. Ciego
Marcia Lopez, 22, dies after injuries from monstrous three-vehicle Ladyville collision

LADYVILLE, Belize District, Fri. Feb. 15, 2019– At about 5:30 yesterday evening, Marcia Lopez, 22, a resident of San Pablo, Orange Walk District, who was a mother of 2 toddlers, 6 months and 2 years old, was standing in front of the North Gas Station, located  on the Philip Goldson Highway near Mile 9  in Ladyville, waiting to get a bus to go home, when she was knocked down and crushed under a loaded sand truck, which was one of three vehicles that were involved in a collision that occurred  in front of the gas station.

As a result, Lopez suffered massive head and body injuries. She was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where doctors tried to administer life-saving treatment, but she died at about 1:30 this morning, Friday, while being treated in the hospital.

In speaking to the media, her brother, Russell Rodriguez, said that Marcia would always be remembered as jovial and fun-loving. She and her two children lived in the same yard in which Rodriguez and other family members of hers resided in San Pablo, and she had gone to work in Ladyville and to visit her sister-in-law in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after she finished working. Her sister-in-law had given birth to a baby and was waiting to be transported home.

Police said that a Jeep Grand Cherokee being driven at the time by Walter McCullock, Jr., 38, a welder of Ladyville who was travelling from Ladyville to Belize City, stopped on the right side of the Philip Goldson Highway  and indicated its intention to go “left” into the gas station on the other side of the road, when a 10-wheeler truck, loaded with sand, that was traveling in the same direction, from Ladyville to Belize City, and which was being driven at the time by Errol Garbut, 31, a truck driver of Ladyville, slammed into the rear of the jeep, pushing it across the road.

The Jeep crashed into an SUV that was parked in front of the gas station, and Lopez, who was standing in front of the gas station, was knocked down and found underneath the truck, which had also run across the road.

Initial reports to us last night were that the Jeep had stopped in the lane when the sand truck crashed into its rear, because its brakes had failed.

However, Garbutt denied this, and said that the Jeep stopped suddenly in front of the truck, and he blared his horn and slammed on his brakes, but because of the short distance between the truck and the Jeep which had slowed to a halt, the truck was not able to stop.

Garbutt claimed that he steered as much as he could to the right, but the front wheel of his truck hit the rear of the Jeep, and he lost control of the truck. There was oncoming traffic at the time of the incident, and Garbutt commented that he still cannot fathom how other vehicles escaped being hit when the truck and the Jeep slid across the road.

He and the driver of the Jeep were not injured, and no one was in the SUV that was struck on the other side of the road.

Police say that blood and urine samples were drawn from the drivers to see if alcohol was present in their blood, and if it was above the legal limit. The drivers have both been issued a Notice of Intended Prosecution.

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