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Jan 23, 2014

Bus collides into a jeep…a number of students are injured

A bus full of passengers travelling from Orange Walk collided with a jeep before it could get to its destination in Corozal. The bus careened into a nearby cane field while the jeep was totaled. The passengers on board were students heading to the Belize Adventist College in Calcutta. Many of the students received minor injuries from the impact, but the experience has left them traumatized. Duane Moody has that story.

 

Shannel Mendoza, Student, Belize Adventist College

“I noh know, but I’m frightened.”

 

Duane Moody

“You were studying when this happened?”

 

Shannel Mendoza

“Yes.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Shannel Mendoza and her younger brother attend the Belize Adventist College in Calcutta Village in Corozal and on a daily basis would catch this Armstrong School Bus from Orange Walk to the high school. But after seven this morning, as the bus travelled on a stretch of the highway in Santa Clara Village, it collided into a Jeep Cherokee traveling in the opposite direction. The impact sent the eighty-seater passenger bus off the highway and some four hundred yards into a cane field on the right side of the pavement.

 

Joel Armstrong

Joel Armstrong, Proprietor, Armstrong Bus Line

“I was not driving the bus, they called me around seven o’clock and explained to me that a vehicle had run into one of my buses and it was destroyed. So I made an effort from Belize City to come down to see what took place. When I came here I saw that there was a vehicle on that side badly damaged and I didn’t see the bus so I was worried, but when I went by the cane field area I saw that the bus was in that cane field parked over that side.”

 

Behind the wheel of the bus, was fifty-five year old Lawrence Tillett, while fifty-eight year old Eusebio Urbina drove the Jeep Cherokee. Both received injuries, were treated and released from the hospital. Several students were taken to the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, but the students are left traumatized.

 

Shannel Mendoza

Shannel Mendoza

“I was very excited and frightened.”

 

Duane Moody

“Do you know whether anybody else on the bus got hurt, bleeding or anything like that?”

 

Shannel Mendoza

“No, just only a girl, she fell from the bus and she get hurt…nothing else. Just only she. I neva get hurt, just a little bit.”

 

Duane Moody

“How did you guys get out of the bus?”

 

Lawrence Tillett

Shannel Mendoza

“From the back and when we heard that the driver said open the door, we gone and I don’t know how it happened, how I get out from the bus and gone on the road.”

 

Shenny Correa, Mother of Accident Victim

“When I received the call I got frightened because I have two kids on the bus. But then I have no idea because my daughter called in and said mom, we had an accident.”

 

Duane Moody

“Did she relate to you what really happened?”

 

Shenny Correa

Shenny Correa

“Well yes, because she was crying. Then my son called me and then he is very calm and he said they have an accident on the bus. I took them to the doctor and the doctor sent them for an x-ray—my son, the foot and then her face, but thanks god they are okay. But they don’t even want to ride on the bus right now because they are traumatized.”

 

For, Proprietor, Joel Armstrong, this accident is setting him back tremendously.

 

Eusebio Urbina

Joel Armstrong

“I don’t know if the bus will be able to repair; it suffered extreme damage—if you can see it there—loss of tire; part of the axel is broke, the front springs are broken, the axel to the back has been destroyed, damage to the transmission, to the engine; you could see both of the windshield is broken. Everything destroyed; it is hard for me. It is very hard because you have to fulfill your obligations. A bus like this is about twenty-six thousand dollars or more with the painting and putting on new tires and whatever. It is very difficult, but at the same time I have to see what I am going to do because I have to pay the bank, owe the bank. If you don’t pay the bank, you lose your house and lot. And you have to provide food, basic needs for your family. It is difficult. What I will do? I don’t know.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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