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The scariest stretch of road in North Leeward – Driver

The scariest stretch of road in North Leeward – Driver

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The portion of the Leeward Highway where a Toyota Sprinter ran off the road last Sunday resulting in the death of three persons has been described as “the scariest piece of road in North Leeward.”

Bardo Chance, a driver with over ten years experience, eight of those driving passengers, told SEARCHLIGHT that the area of road may {{more}}not be “a big deal” for drivers from North Leeward, but persons from outside and tourists need to exercise extreme caution when driving there.

“That is the scariest piece of road in North Leeward,” he exclaimed.

Last Sunday, just after 7 p.m., motor vehicle PT 505, a Toyota Sprinter car driven by 24-year-old office attendant Kemral Williams was travelling south to Spring Village from a funeral at Chateaubelair when, according to a police report, the vehicle “went out of control upon reaching Coulls Hill.”

The other occupants of the vehicle were Denzil Johnson, a 22-year-old IT technician; Neville Charles, a 45-year-old labourer; 65-year-old Isilma Venola Ollivierre / Johnson and her father, George Johnson, an 89-year-old farmer.

Denzil and George Johnson reportedly died at the scene, while Isilma died at the Troumaca Health Centre. Charles and Williams were hospitalized.

Roland Patel Matthews, parliamentary representative for the area has blasted the government for ignoring his attempts to bring attention to the need for urgent repairs to that portion of the road.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Matthews said the accident could have been prevented and that he raised the issue of that stretch of road during the 2015 budgetary debates in January this year. He said he again publicly addressed the matter in April, when he made an extensive post on his Facebook page and from time to time, he would highlight the issue during his weekly segment on the New Times programme on Nice Radio.

Matthews highlighted that the top of the retaining wall in the area where the car ran off the road last Sunday was eroded during the Christmas floods of 2013. He said it was “just a matter of adding a prop to the wall until a more permanent solution could be found.”

“Eight and a half to nine per cent of our total population lives above that area from Troumaca Bottom to Richmond Vale and that is a sizeable part of our small population, so we see how many person are affected,” the MP stated.

He said something must be done, sooner rather than later, before other lives are lost and added that his heart goes out to the Johnson family in their time of grief. He expressed his personal condolences and on the behalf of the people of North Leeward.

Acting Prime Minister Girlyn Miguel visited the grieving Johnson family at their home at Cocoa Village, Chateaubelair on Monday to pay her respects to the family. SEARCHLIGHT asked her what were the plans of the government for alternate routes or even a tunnel in that particular area, given last Sunday evening’s accident and another on January 25, 2014, when Maltina James lost her life. James was a back seat passenger in her uncle’s Suzuki Swift which plunged more than 100 feet down the same embankment. Her uncle Victor Hunt and his wife, who was in the front passenger seat survived the accident.

Miguel declined to comment.

However, Carlos James, candidate for North Leeward for the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP) noted in a release that Matthews’ comments that the government is responsible for the three deaths are “unfortunate, untimely and in poor taste.”

James noted that when there are multiple deaths from accidents of this nature an entire nation mourns. “I believe that the deaths are not simply a personal tragedy – as in the case of Spring Village an entire community is mourning,” he said.

“This is no time to play politics, not when people have lost their lives. I know what it feels like to lose someone you love. My heart goes out to the families, their loved ones and friends,” James said.

“No true representative, no dignified man, would use people’s pain as a way to earn political points by blaming the government for an accident of this nature.”

“The vile utterances of Mr Matthews lacked empathy and displayed not an ounce of decency, leadership or compassion for the people he claims to ‘represent’,” James further added.

“Let us continue to pray for the Johnson family, their relatives, friends and the entire constituency of North Leeward,” he concluded.

Other than the four lives claimed by that stretch of road in the last 18 months, in the 1970s, prominent lawyer Danny Williams lost his life when the car he was driving ran off the road at an area known as ‘Bad John Corner’, so named after a truck driver who also had an accident there and plunged over the cliff to the area of the cemetery below. ‘Bad John’ survived that crash.

A candle light march was held for the Johnson family on Monday evening and despite rain persons marched from the scene of the accident at Coulls Hill to the victims’ home at Spring Village.(AC)

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