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May 16, 2012

Family of four perish in fatal highway accident

There was a horrible traffic accident this morning at mile forty-four, a dangerous stretch of the Western Highway. Four of five family members between the ages of twelve and sixty-eight perished. The Belize City family was heading to the US Embassy in Belmopan when they collided into an Isuzu Rodeo. The road condition in this morning’s rain is likely the cause of the fatalities. The vehicle spun out of control, crashed into the incoming vehicle and the victims were ejected into the highway. Freelance reporter Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The queue of vehicles along the Western Highway was backed up for at least a mile as a result of a fatal traffic accident that occurred shortly after seven this morning at mile forty-four on the Western Highway.


Denroy Tillett, Relative of Accident Victims

“I was going on my way to work. I know I loan my car to my sister and rest of family for them to come to the US Embassy. I got a call that there was an accident when I came up here, this is what I found. I questioned the police and they told me that four of my family members died which include my mom, my sister, a young niece about twelve and her dad. My other niece is at the Belmopan hospital right now in critical condition.”


Nicholasia Tillett

The accident claimed the lives of four members of the Tillett family: grandmother, sixty-eight year old Nicholasia Tillett; her daughter forty-five year old Karen Castillo; granddaughter twelve year old Alicia Smith and son, brother-in-law and father of the minor, Arthur Smith Senior. The impact of the collision flung their lifeless bodies onto the middle of the highway and nearby bushes.


Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood, Police press Officer

Karen Castillo

“Police responded to a traffic accident scene where they found the bodies of three females near a vehicle in the middle of the highway around mile forty-four. These persons have since been identified as Karen Castillo, Alicia Smith and Nicholasia Tillett. Police visited an area not too far from there where they found the body of Arthur Smith senior in some nearby bushes. All of these persons were already dead when police arrived. These five persons were traveling in a goad geo prism car heading towards Belmopan and a blue Isuzu rodeo driven at the time by one Corrine Abcock, fifty-six year old Canadian National who reside in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. She was traveling in the opposite direction heading towards Belize City. She is saying that she saw the car quickly spinning out of control. It happened so fast that she couldn’t run off the road to avoid colliding into them.”


First on scene to render assistance was Brian Chavarria. He says that he was not far behind when the accident occurred and he immediately called for help.


Brian Chavarria

Brian Chavarria, Witness

“We called the emergency service, the ambulance came, people started coming and the ambulance came and he ignored the white too and hit the brakes and almost took out some people with it. We called everybody: the police the ambulance. It was pretty much stabilize the people in the vehicle but everyone else was gone.”


Jules Vasquez

“Were they actually thrown from the vehicle?”


Brian Chavarria

Alicia Smith

“They were slung out of the car. Two people survived; the lady that was in the Isuzu had a broken arm I think.  Everybody that was in this car I think just instantaneously.”


The condition of the road is what is said to have caused the accident.


Denroy Tillett

“From what I ask so far they say it’s a loss of control off the road and I guess two vehicle going in the opposition direction, the blue vehicle over there did this damage to this car when it slid.”


Brian Chavarria

“It’s sad, this road right here; this piece of white road that’s the problem. This is the problem right here—a little bit of rain and the oil that is in the middle of the road disperses. And once you hit your brakes or you try to overtake a vehicle, you are gone instantly.”


Denroy Tillett, who lost his parent and sibling, says that he is still in disbelief that the terrible tragedy occurred in his family.


Denroy Tillett

Denroy Tillett

“When I came I broke down, but right now I am just holding up a bit because right now I don’t even know how I feel. This has never happened to my family before. I’ve seen it happen to others but never expected it to happen to my family. I just don’t know what to say. I am trying my best to hold up right now, but it’s not easy; it’s not easy.”


Two persons survived the accident. They were twenty-eight year old Monique Robinson who is also a granddaughter of Tillett and fifty-nine year Canadian national, Corrine Abcock who was driving the Isuzu Rodeo. Both were trapped in the vehicles. They were rescued and transported to the Western Regional Hospital for medical treatment. Duane Moody for News Five.


Monique Robinson

The bodies of Castillo, a School Counselor at Maud Williams High School and Arthur Smith were transferred to the K.H.M.H. morgue this morning while Tillett and Alicia Smith were brought from Western Regional Hospital this afternoon. Robinson, an infant one teacher at All Saint’s Primary School, was transferred this afternoon to the Belize Medical Associates where she is in a stable condition. 

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27 Responses for “Family of four perish in fatal highway accident”

  1. Storm says:

    Rain DID NOT cause these fatalities.

    I’d say it was 2 things, both human error/stupidity [sad to say, but it's truer]: [1] excess speed for the slippery roads, and [2] FAILURE TO WEAR SEATBELTS. People don’t get ejected from vehicles if they are wearing belts — BELTS SAVE LIVES. There are undeniable statistics on the use of belts in the States.

    But it’s a tragedy, and my prayers are with the family.


  2. Dean Arthur, Smith says:

    I just want to say this is very sad for a son to over hear… I’m gonna miss u dad…. I love u dad… I hate that we say good bye this way…. and to the Tillet Familly my heart goes out to the familly…. love ur son Dean Smith….

  3. belizeanese says:

    i always worry when any family member travels on belizean highways…i always fear the worst. our highways are the worst in central america. thats a fact !! even guatemala we love to hate has way better roads than we do. i guess someone in the cabinet family has to have an accident for dem to get di sense. either way still sad. we lose good belizeans to highways and bullets…

  4. RasJah says:

    Sorry for the loss, seatbelts folks, save lives. buckle up please.

  5. bunnypegues says:

    Should seat belts be mandatory?

  6. bunnypegues says:

    Should seat belts be mandatory?

  7. karan chand says:

    My deepest condolences to the family of Karen. I worked for several years at St. Michael’s College where she was a co-worker. I am so shocked and sorry that this had to befall her and family.

  8. JD says:

    So many people have lost their lives on that stretch of highway. How many more will lose their lives before the government decide to fix it? I think its time the people demand it.

  9. Mel says:

    This is so sad. My heart goes out to the family.

  10. charlessa says:

    This is my family. I am Ed Tillett fiance’ which is one of the brothers, and son and loving uncle to the family. I personally want you all to know that im trying to raise money to help my family with the burial expenses. Please contact me 3109102039 or email at

  11. Eye in the Sky says:

    Forget the seat belts says the traffic department. This government is too concerned about tinted windows on cars.

  12. david96500 says:

    My condolences to the family. But the posters raise a good issue. We do have seatbelt laws in Belize. The law is in place, we just need to implement them. We need to start imposing fines on those who do not follow the rules. Once more my deepest sympathy to all those who suffered a loss in this fatal accident. Let this be a lesson to all of us for even i have been on the road without a seatbelt.

  13. Be Real says:

    I think the Western needs to be resurfaced and made a bit wider on both sides. That highway is very trecherous.

  14. CEO says:

    What about just slowing down? What about driving a safe speed for the weather conditions?

    True the road could be widen and better constructed but we all know the condition of the road before we get on it. Most drivers in belize drive very reckless on those roads.

  15. Gary says:

    Its very sad….My condolences goes out to both families!!!!!But, its obvious that if they were wearing their seat belts this wouldn’t have been so horrible……Our laws NEEDS to be enforced!!!!!!

  16. Truth says:

    I am so sorry for what took place. It is never easy for someone to bear the lost of family members. This is not a war against us but the devil wants to take our eyes off of Christ. we never know when it will be our time. So lets be ready.

  17. Tina says:

    Such sadness!! Sincere condolence to the victims and their families. I am gearing for a visit soon & the thought of getting on those highways really scare me. Prayers for everyone’s safety.

  18. anna says:

    So sorry to hear of the loss to the Tillett family. However, that road just lies there…in and of itself it is not dangerous. It is the weather conditions, lack of driving experience and lack of knowing when to SLOW DOWN and drive according to weather conditions that cause accidents. Seat belts are required by law in Belize, but as to most of our laws on the books, they are not enforced. Perhaps Transport Dept/Police need to start doing their jobs.

  19. anna says:

    So sorry to hear of the loss to the Tillett family. However, that road in and of itself is NOT dangerous…it just lies there. What causes it to be dangerous are drivers who drive above their experience level….what is wrong with just SLOWING DOWN? Obviously this driver was not taking into consideration road conditions. Seat belts are required to be worn by Belizean law, however, like most all the laws in Belize , it is not enforced. Perhaps Transport should really start doing their jobs.

  20. @lionez_ says:

    Hope for belize

  21. Friend Forever says:

    Deepest condolences to my best freind Debbie Castillo and her borther Brian Castillo Sr , his children and the rest of the Castiilo and Tillett family on the loss of his wife, Karen Tillett Castillo his mother in law and other family members. No words can supress or take away the pain you are feeling right now. Know that many are offering support, prayers and concern during your grief. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love is stronger than death even though
    it can’t stop death from happening,
    but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love.
    It can’t take away our memories either.
    In the end, life is stronger than death.

  22. anna says:

    My condolences to the Tillett family. But that road, like any other road, or any set of curves, is NOT dangerous in and of itself. It is simply there. The danger lies with drivers who drive above their skill level and drive without any consideration as to the weather conditions. What is wrong with GOING SLOWER ? Seat belts are required by law in Belize, but like so many laws on our books they are not enforced. Perhaps those who should be enforcing the laws should either do so or look for jobs elsewhere.

  23. Van says:

    Wow!! This is just tragic news. My condolences goes out to the families.

  24. Tanya says:

    It seems like if you don’t get shot but a stray bullett, you get killed in an accident. Life seems hopeless in Belize!!! It’s so sad!!!

  25. Sasha says:

    I have to agree with storm, there is no speed limit for drivers in any type of weather condition so when accidents happen it is because of the drivers stupidity, RAIN=SLOW DOWN, this is when road conditions are worst. ALWAYS WEAR SEAT BELTS. SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.

  26. loushera Blancaneauxl says:

    This is so sad mien some times u can’t believe ppl dead my condolence goes out to miss Castillo’s family and friend plz understand God make everything happened for a reason and I know she is in a better place

  27. Charlessa Burnside says:



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