By Aaron Humes: A new year did not mean the end of horror on Belize’s roads, as the start of 2016 was not kind to four Belizeans who lost their lives in separate awful traffic accidents over the weekend. Carmelita residents: 28-year-old teacher Leah Crawford and her boyfriend Adrian Wade were knocked down on their way to a wedding on Saturday January 2nd at around 8:30 p.m.
The accused is Belize City businessman Perry Gibson, who was charged with 2 counts of manslaughter by negliglence, causing death by careles conduct, failure to stop and render aid, refusing to provide a urine sample and driving without due care and attention. He was arraigned this morning and released on bail of 20 thousand dollars.
Further down the Philip Goldson Highway at Mile 5 and a half, the scene that met motorists at around 9 Sunday morning at that location was four badly damaged vehicles. There were two separate traffic accidents in the area, and while both seemed equally horrible, only one was fatal.
The first involved a Blue Ford escort and a Chevvy Equinnox being driven by mechanic Marvin Ramirez and security Guard Andre Gordon, respectively. Police say that from what they observed, the Blue Ford escort was in the wrong lane and caused the head-on collision.
Ramirez was heading toward Belize City while the Equinnox was headed in the opposite direction. Police suspect that alcohol may have been a factor in that case. Fortunately, both drivers only received minor injuries. That was not the case in the accident involving a white Toyota Tundra being driven at the time by Calvin Cumberbatch and a Dodge Caravan driven by 81-year-old Alfredo Navarette.
The Tundra ended up mangled with the mangroves on the right side of the highway with the Dodge caravan stuck at it’s midsection. That accident claimed the life of well-known Belize City resident and money lender, 44-year-old Pamela Bennett who was a passenger in the Tundra.
The accident which happened at around 9a.m. Sunday caused a back log in traffic on both sides of the highway as Police worked to remove all vehicles from the scene. In fact, the second accident occurred while police were still trying to haul away the first two cars.
According to Police, Bennett and her common-law-husband, Calvin Cumberbatch were headed in the direction of Orange Walk while Navarrete was headed to Belize City. The sole survivor, Cumberbatch remains hospitalized receiving treatment. A blood and urine sample has been taken from him.
So, what caused the accident? Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, says they will not know for sure until Cumberbatch recovers enough to be interviewed. However, Broaster says that that particular curve along the Philip Goldson Highway is a rather dangerous one.
He noted that to enforce traffic laws on all major highways, they require more resources, and believes that with the road safety Project being piloted, they are making headway on improving enforcement.
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