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Driver was not drunk – accident victim

Driver was not drunk – accident victim

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Albert ‘Bat’ Williams, the surviving back seat passenger from the August 19 vehicle crash that killed 17-year-old Kiara Tiara Shortte, has denied that the driver of the vehicle was drunk.

“The driver was not drunk. Trust me. He wasn’t speeding either; it was an accident,” stressed Williams, who has been friends with the driver, David Charles, for many years.

Members of the public questioned the sobriety of the driver after a screenshot of a Whatsapp conversation, allegedly between Kiara and a friend, began to make the rounds of social media. SEARCHLIGHT has not been able to verify the authenticity of the screen shot, as up to press time, the person who is alleged to have received the message and sent out the screenshot has not come forward.{{more}}

According to the screenshot, a text message, sent minutes before Kiara died, said that she was scared for her life because the driver of the vehicle she was in was drunk.

At around 3 a.m., last Friday, Williams, a resident of Freeland, Mesopotamia, was a passenger in a black SUV P 782, owned and being driven by Charles of Sayers. Also in the vehicle were Kiara Shortte and Kiara’s cousin Crystal Shortte. The vehicle went over an embankment along the Hopewell public road.

Williams, who is 59 and a farmer, broke two of his ribs on the left side, while Charles, who is 50 years old, broke his left leg. Both men, up to press time, were patients at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), while Crystal, who is 20 years

old, sustained injuries about her body, but was released. Kiara died on the spot.

According to Williams, the four of them had been hanging out and were returning from Lowmans Windward when the accident took place. Williams said that the vehicle went too close to the edge of the road and rolled over the embankment.

“It rolled a long time and I kept saying oh my God,” recalled Williams from the Male Surgical Ward of the MCMH on Monday.

He said that Kiara was in the back seat with him, while Crystal was in the front and none of them were wearing seat belts. He said that when the vehicle rolled over the embankment, it rolled for what seemed an eternity and when it stopped he was the only one still inside.

Williams said that he got out of the badly damaged jeep and called out to his friend, who answered him, saying that he was alright. He remembers seeing Crystal stand up, but when he looked for Kiara, he saw her bleeding from her mouth and nose and immediately came to the conclusion that she would not make it.

Williams is of the opinion that the vehicle may have rolled on the 17-year-old girl, who had just graduated from the Adelphi Secondary School and had passed seven of the eight Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams she sat.

“I feel real sad about it. I feel like I could have die and I sorry for Kiara,” stressed Williams, who revealed that a man who heard the commotion came to their assistance.

Police are investigating this latest road fatality; the second such incident that has left a teenager dead this summer.

On Thursday, July 28, 15-year-old Justin Young died at the MCMH hours after the truck he was travelling in overturned at Choppins.

These two teenage road fatalities bring to three, the number of persons under the age of 18 who have died tragically this summer. On Saturday, July 23, Sandy Bay resident Giovanni ‘Jo’ Sutherland-Sam, 15 years old, drowned in the waters off the Clare Valley Beach. (LC)

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