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Apr 29, 2019

A Trio of Friends Perish in Submerged Vehicle During an RTA in the North

A total of four persons perished in traffic fatalities over the weekend.  In the first incident, three friends tragically lost their lives in the Orange Walk District when they drove off a bridge along the San Antonio Road and plunged into the Rio Hondo.  The men had left Belize City on Saturday evening without informing their relatives of their whereabouts.  It wasn’t until later that night when word began to spread that they realized that the victims of the deadly accident were their loved ones.  Today, News Five’s Isani Cayetano spoke with their coworker at a bakery in the West Lake Community, as well as an uncle of one of the deceased men.  Here’s that report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The extrication of three men from a vehicle that plunged into the Rio Hondo River on Saturday night was a ghastly scene.  Inside the sunken wreck were Kelvin Augustine, Efrain Martinez and Oscar Portillo, a trio of friends who met each other several years ago at a local bakery where they all worked.  Augustine’s uncle, attorney Oscar Selgado, told News Five that his nephew left home that evening without telling them where he was going.

 

Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Uncle of Deceased

“What I learned is that he went to work at the establishment on Mile Eight, a bakery on the George Price Highway and he worked until midday.  Up until about 3:15 he was on Facebook communicating with one of my nieces who lives at my house, just upstairs, and he did not indicate to us that he would take any trip.  He did not indicate to his cousin [that] he would take a trip and later on when we heard he was involved in an accident we were told initially it was at the Macal River which is in Cayo.  So I had said, well maybe he did go to the Agric Show because there were some deals on phones and I know he wanted a phone, an upgrade.”

 

Augustine and his friends were nowhere on the George Price Highway.  In fact, the trio had journeyed north to Orange Walk District and presumably headed towards Botes, a popular border community, when they ran off a bridge.

 

Marco Vidal

ACP Marco Vidal, Commander of Operations

“On Saturday, the first incident was eight p.m., where police responded to the village of San Antonio and a blue Toyota car was seen submerged in the water with its four wheels upwards.  The three occupants of the car were extracted from the vehicle.  They had one Kelvin Augustine, twenty-eight-years-old of Eight Miles, George Price Highway; Efrain Martinez, twenty-one-years-old of Belize District and then one Oscar Portillo.  They succumbed to their, well we suspect that they may have drowned, [but] we are yet to get the post mortem in terms of that, but they were extracted from the vehicle and they were motionless.”

 

According to a coworker who asked to remain anonymous, they had left work earlier that afternoon when they met Oscar Portillo in Belize City.

 

Voice of: Coworker

“We finished work Saturday around three and we went in the delivery van to catch a ride to go down to Belize City.  Apparently Kelvin said he was going to the supermarket to get some groceries and Efrain was going to visit his mother, but while we were by Tow Tow, Oscar passed in his vehicle and asked me first if I could please go with him to hang out and thing and he insisted and I said no.  So when I turned around he asked the other guys and then they followed him and I don’t know, just end up da Orange Walk, I noh know how.”

 

Selgado would come to learn that his nephew and friends had been warned moments earlier that they were speeding along a stretch of road that they were unfamiliar with.  That person, according to Selgado, would hear the sound of the deadly collision a short while thereafter.

 

Oscar Selgado

“We found out later on that this accident wasn’t really just an accident, it was a fatal accident and it was in the Orange Walk District at a bridge just outside of San Antonio Village.  What they were doing there we were not certain.  All of them perished.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What do you believe may have led to the demise of these men?  Were they presumably speeding?  Did they not know the road?  What do you think happened that ended in the loss of life in this instance?”

 

Oscar Selgado

“I will not speculate, but I met somebody who was at the WASA office this morning, who knew them and who spoke to them just minutes before this incident occurred and none of the three who perished knew the area properly and so speeding had to be attributed to it because there were skid marks on the approach to the bridge. And the person who I spoke to said they were speeding and joked with them, that guys you are away from Belize City, this is a new area, slow down. And he practically heard the impact, just seconds away.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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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