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Sep 26, 2003

5 yr. old near death after highway knockdown

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Early this afternoon the combination of a roving child, smooth highway and fast moving taxi sent a little girl from Hattieville to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with injuries that threaten to claim her life. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods arrived at the scene to find that it was a case of history repeating itself.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The hair clips five-year-old Tyra Gillett was wearing lay in pieces across the Burrell Boom Road in Hattieville where she was knocked down. The child was crossing the highway, when a taxi driven by George Lewis crashed into her. The long skid mark stretching along the pavement, suggests that Lewis saw Gillett, tried to stop the car, but failed. The impact was so great that the little girl’s body was thrown in the air before landing in a nearby drain.

Jerrlyn Diego, Eyewitness

“And I see when the vehicle come. The little baby, I know that noh from yah she di cross, so it had to be from ova the next side ah the street fi come this side. But I know that dah as far as deh Mr. Lewis’ vehicle park. So I know the speed weh he coming into, dah that fling the baby. Because the baby noh roll pan the street, the baby fly up dah air then land right down deh, right down deh in that same lee gully.”

As Gillett lay unconscious, neighbours rushed to her side and quickly transported the child to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Tyra remains at the K.H.M.H. barely clinging to life. Incredible as it sounds, according to area residents, it is not the first time Lewis has been involved in an accident on the same stretch of highway. In fact, it is alleged that just last year Lewis knocked down Tyra’s older sister. Fortunately, she sustained only minor injuries. Lewis, who usually operates between the prison and Hattieville Village, has been detained by police and is expected to be charged.

Shortly after the accident, a group of angry neighbours gathered at the scene to express their outrage. They say the crash was the result of both high speed and the lack of speed bumps in the area.

Margaret Tablada, Tyra’s Grandmother

“You know, like we live through this road, they shouldn’t, he shouldn’t speed like that, because then he knows we have houses on both sides and we have a lot of kids.”

Norman Gillett, Tyra’s Father

“Through yah dah noh nothing nice. Only now, maybe because this accident, they di slow down. But from the big dump truck weh you see the come right yah soh, they come like they deh pan wah race track the fly through. It nevah too long before somebody get it anyway.”

The speed limit along the stretch of road is fifty-five miles per hour. However, the residents say because the highway runs through a growing community, that speed limit should be drastically reduced. For some time the villagers have been asking for speed bumps, but they say it seems as if no one in authority is listening.

Jerrlyn Diego

“I noh know what happen to this area, this must be the forgotten area. We try lobby bout it with the village council, and so right now we would really wah see wah action through this. Because this could have been prevented before it happen that far.”

Tyra’s family and friends continue to pray for her recovery, but according to them, the doctors have informed the family that it will take a miracle for her to survive the massive head and body injuries she received. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

At news time, Tyra Gillett lay in a coma at the K.H.M.H.

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