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May 15, 2009

Teen killed during bus accident on Hummingbird Highway

Story PictureWhat should have been the happy ending of a field trip turned to tragedy for the students of San Martin’s Government School. Late Thursday evening the primary school students from the Belmopan area were returning home when the bus they were riding in was involved in an accident. Seventeen year old Erik Houston Middleton was the conductor of his uncle’s bus which took the students on the educational trip to Nim Li Punit, an archaeological site in Toledo. As the group reached ‘Cisco Hill’ located between miles twenty-nine and thirty on the Hummingbird Highway, the trip turned fatal for Middleton. Duane Moody has a report.

Duane Moody Reporting
The bus slammed into the back of a parked Bowen and Bowen Crystal truck on the right hand side of the road about three hundred yards away from a loaded C.P.B.L. freight liner that was blocking access to the highway. Middleton was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, but succumbed to his injuries while receiving treatment. The driver of the freightliner, Carlos Alarcon, recounted the events.

Carlos Alarcon, Driver, Citrus Products Belize Limited
“Around four-fifteen, four-twenty yesterday on the Cisco Hill at mile twenty-nine and a half, my truck just shut down. I tried to reverse it down the hill and actually it just picked up speed and before something else happened, I just decided to put it on the side of the road. It just happen that it block off the road completely. It just blocked off the road and actually the Crystal truck was coming at the same time and he just stop on the right hand side. The conductor, this young guy, got hurt and he was taken out and put in a vehicle to be taken to Stann Creek because there was no way we could a vehicle across to the next side. So we managed to get a vehicle and to take him to Stann Creek and afterwards two more kids went in the same vehicle.“

Graciela Cordon, Eyewitness
“I saw the children coming out of the bus frightened. Some were crying; others were bleeding. That was very tragic for me because I had never seen something like that before. The first thing that happened was that a trailer carrying fruit broke down across the road. The crystal truck that was coming came to a stop behind the trailer. People tried to warn a bus that was approaching but it didn’t stop. It crashed into the crystal truck.”

Quinton Middleton, Driver of Middleton Bus
“It mashed in about five to six feet. Apparently, the front part of the bus, the right side by the door went all the way to the back above the second seat.”

Duane Moody
“And where was your cousin?”

Quinton Middleton
“He was standing by the door.”

Driver of the bus who is the cousin to the deceased, Quinton Middleton, received minor abrasions to the hands and feet. Middleton says he tried to stop but the bus slid and slammed into the back of the Crystal truck.

Quinton Middleton
”Around ten to five yesterday evening, coming from P.G. upon reaching the Cisco Hill, climbing the back part of the gap. When I came on top coming down about two hundred years ahead when I start coming down, a truck taking orange jack knife turn across the road and a Bowen and Bowen truck that deliver purified water was a little bit more up. So I applied my brakes to stop but…”

Duane Moody
“The brakes didn’t hold?”

Quinton Middleton
“It hold but it was sliding. The back wheel just slide and I saw that we were unable to stop so I try to just do what I could. I put the edge of the bus to hit the back part of the trailer for the Bowen and Bowen truck because there was no way I could have on either side. If I go on any side it would have been worst. And so far, only one person lost their life, my little cousin, who was the conductor.”

Duane Moody
“What’s his name?”

Quinton Middleton
”Erik Middleton.”

Duane Moody
“At the scene we see tire marks. Is that because the Bowen truck was trying to stop or was that the bus?”

Sgt. Alvin Neal, Investigating Officer, Belmopan Police
Well, so far the investigation revealed that at the time of the accident both the red freight liner truck and the Bowen truck was stationary.

Duane Moody
“So that would mean that the bus was the one that was speeding so to speak?”

Sgt. Alvin Neal
”Like I said, the investigation is still ongoing. It’s hard to draw conclusion at this time.”

Investigating Officer, Sergeant Alvin Neal Junior says that twelve persons were injured.

Sgt. Alvin Neal
”The Bowen and Bowen trailer received extensive damage to the rear of the trailer and the bus in question was extensively damaged. We have about eleven students that received injuries along with a conductor who later succumbed to his injuries at the Dangriga Hospital. From my investigation, none of them are life threatening as such; injuries to the arms, forehead, bodily injuries; not of serious nature. “

Duane Moody
“Where were they coming from?”

Sgt. Alvin Neal
“Well I cannot say exactly where they were coming from. Probably it was some field trip or something because, as you know, this is education week but they were heading towards Belmopan when this unfortunate accident occurred.”

According to the principal of the San Martin’s Government School in the Salvapan Area, about one hundred students were returning from a trip to Nim Li Punit.

Angelita Emmanuel, Principal, San Martin’s Government School
“We have three standard six classes and two standard five classes. All five classes went on the trip yesterday. It is in line with education week and it is also in line with what the teachers have taught over the past weeks. So the trip was planned. It was well organized and approval was granted by our manager and parents have approved notes that were signed. And so the trip left yesterday morning between seven-fifteen and seven-thirty some way there about and they were enroute to Nim Li Punit archaeological site in the Toledo District. On their way back, there was an accident; unfortunately. So far our students, at least nine of them were treated at the Belmopan Hospital with minor injuries and three of them were admitted at the Southern Regional Hospital. “

Also injured in the accident was a teacher. The three minors that were admitted at the Southern Regional Hospital were released this morning. Duane Moody Reporting for News Five.

Duane Moody Reporting
The bus slammed into the back of a parked Bowen and Bowen Crystal truck on the right hand side of the road about three hundred yards away from a loaded C.P.B.L. freight liner that was blocking access to the highway. Middleton was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, but succumbed to his injuries while receiving treatment. The driver of the freightliner, Carlos Alarcon, recounted the events.

Carlos Alarcon, Driver, Citrus Products Belize Limited
“Around four-fifteen, four-twenty yesterday on the Cisco Hill at mile twenty-nine and a half, my truck just shut down. I tried to reverse it down the hill and actually it just picked up speed and before something else happened, I just decided to put it on the side of the road. It just happen that it block off the road completely. It just blocked off the road and actually the Crystal truck was coming at the same time and he just stop on the right hand side. The conductor, this young guy, got hurt and he was taken out and put in a vehicle to be taken to Stann Creek because there was no way we could a vehicle across to the next side. So we managed to get a vehicle and to take him to Stann Creek and afterwards two more kids went in the same vehicle. “

Graciela Cordon, Eyewitness
“I saw the children coming out of the bus frightened. Some were crying; others were bleeding. That was very tragic for me because I had never seen something like that before. The first thing that happened was that a trailer carrying fruit broke down across the road. The crystal truck that was coming came to a stop behind the trailer. People tried to warn a bus that was approaching but it didn’t stop. It crashed into the crystal truck.”

Quinton Middleton, Driver of Middleton Bus
“It mashed in about five to six feet. Apparently, the front part of the bus, the right side by the door went all the way to the back above the second seat.”

Duane Moody
“And where was your cousin?”

Quinton Middleton
“He was standing by the door.”

Driver of the bus who is the cousin to the deceased, Quinton Middleton, received minor abrasions to the hands and feet. Middleton says he tried to stop but the bus slid and slammed into the back of the Crystal truck.

Quinton Middleton
”Around ten to five yesterday evening, coming from P.G. upon reaching the Cisco Hill, climbing the back part of the gap. When I came on top coming down about two hundred years ahead when I start coming down, a truck taking orange jack knife turn across the road and a Bowen and Bowen truck that deliver purified water was a little bit more up. So I applied my brakes to stop but…”

Duane Moody
“The brakes didn’t hold?”

Quinton Middleton
“It hold but it was sliding. The back wheel just slide and I saw that we were unable to stop so I try to just do what I could. I put the edge of the bus to hit the back part of the trailer for the Bowen and Bowen truck because there was no way I could have on either side. If I go on any side it would have been worst. And so far, only one person lost their life, my little cousin, who was the conductor.”

Duane Moody
“What’s his name?”

Quinton Middleton
”Erik Middleton.”

Duane Moody
“At the scene we see tire marks. Is that because the Bowen truck was trying to stop or was that the bus?”

Sgt. Alvin Neal, Investigating Officer, Belmopan Police
Well, so far the investigation revealed that at the time of the accident both the red freight liner truck and the Bowen truck was stationary.

Duane Moody
“So that would mean that the bus was the one that was speeding so to speak?”

Sgt. Alvin Neal
”Like I said, the investigation is still ongoing. It’s hard to draw conclusion at this time.”

Investigating Officer, Sergeant Alvin Neal Junior says that twelve persons were injured.

Sgt. Alvin Neal
”The Bowen and Bowen trailer received extensive damage to the rear of the trailer and the bus in question was extensively damaged. We have about eleven students that received injuries along with a conductor who later succumbed to his injuries at the Dangriga Hospital. From my investigation, none of them are life threatening as such; injuries to the arms, forehead, bodily injuries; not of serious nature. “

Duane Moody
“Where were they coming from?”

Sgt. Alvin Neal
“Well I cannot say exactly where they were coming from. Probably it was some field trip or something because, as you know, this is education week but they were heading towards Belmopan when this unfortunate accident occurred.”

According to the principal of the San Martin’s Government School in the Salvapan Area, about one hundred students were returning from a trip to Nim Li Punit.

Angelita Emmanuel, Principal, San Martin’s Government School
“We have three standard six classes and two standard five classes. All five classes went on the trip yesterday. It is in line with education week and it is also in line with what the teachers have taught over the past weeks. So the trip was planned. It was well organized and approval was granted by our manager and parents have approved notes that were signed. And so the trip left yesterday morning between seven-fifteen and seven-thirty some way there about and they were enroute to Nim Li Punit archaeological site in the Toledo District. On their way back, there was an accident; unfortunately. So far our students, at least nine of them were treated at the Belmopan Hospital with minor injuries and three of them were admitted at the Southern Regional Hospital. “

Also injured in the accident was a teacher. The three minors that were admitted at the Southern Regional Hospital were released this morning. Duane Moody Reporting for News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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