General — 10 August 2019 — by Rowland A. Parks
SUV plunges into river at the Swing Bridge

Driver and 13-year-old passenger rescued

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Aug. 6, 2019– There was a spectacular accident early this morning in the city, when an SUV plunged into the waters on the northern side of the Belize City Swing Bridge and the driver and passenger had to be pulled out and hauled to safety, as the vehicle was quickly submerging.

Jasmine Smith, 22, was driving a red Kia Sportage SUV, coming on North Front Street. A video from a surveillance camera showed that the Kia came, under speed, from the direction of the Belize City Council, and was approaching the traffic control gazebo in the middle of the northern approach to the Swing Bridge.

Smith then swung to her left, around the gazebo, to access the bridge’s northern approach, but before she reached the approach, the video showed, her vehicle swiped a motorcyclist who apparently was travelling in the same direction as the Kia.

The motorcyclist, who has been identified as Cordell Baptist, 38, was flung from his motorcycle and suffered a large cut wound to his leg.

The out-of-control SUV then swiped the front of a Jeep Cherokee that was accessing the northern approach to the bridge, from the direction of the supermarket Bottom Dalla, but had to brake hard to avoid a full-body hit from the Kia.

The SUV then hit and broke the beginning of the metal guard rail on the pedestrian approach to the bridge, which then gave it unobstructed passage to the Haulover Creek, into which it plunged.

Smith and her passenger, a 13-year-old girl, were trapped in the vehicle for some terrifying minutes, as two onlookers plunged into the water to rescue them, followed by a dory from one of the fishing vessels nearby.

Herman Williams, a fisherman, was about to cast his net into the water, on the bridge when the accident began to unfold before him. Instead of throwing his net into the water, Williams took a plunge into the water and began his heroic effort to assist in the rescue of the two females trapped in the SUV that was fast going under.

On social media, Herman Williams was hailed as a hero for his assistance in rescuing the trapped females.

Williams, however, was not the only eyewitness to have taken the rescue plunge into the waters of the Haulover Creek at the height of the morning’s rush hour in the busy downtown section.

Mark McKenzie, a retired policeman and security guard who was posted at Pink Boutique, located on North Front Street, was also observing the SUV, which was moving fast as it plunged into the waters.

After the runaway SUV hit the water, McKenzie, too, sprang into action, kicking off his shoes and putting down his cell phone, as he plunged into the water to assist the two females trapped in the SUV.

Both females were rescued. Smith reportedly only received minor injuries, which have not been specified, while the minor was unhurt.

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