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Jun 1, 2020

“Bridge of Death” Claims Two More Lives

Alfonso Garcia & Reymundo CoponJr.

Two young men were killed on Sunday night when the vehicle they were travelling in plunged into the Rio Hondo River in the village of San Antonio, in the Orange Walk District.  It is not known why they left their village of Guinea Grass to travel to San Antonio and their families remain puzzled about that.  Alfonso Garcia is believed to have been behind the steering wheel at the time of the fatal accident. His body was retrieved this morning, while the body of Reymundo Copo Junior was pulled out of the water on Sunday night. Over the years, many other persons have perished on the dangerous low-lying bridge. Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo with a report.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The unexpected deaths of two young men have two families in Guinea Grass Village mourning. The bodies of twenty-five year old Alfonso Garcia and seventeen year old Reymundo Copo Junior were fished out of the Rio Hondo River in San Antonio Village, Orange Walk. Plunged in the Rio Hondo was this wrecked white GMC pick-up truck.  It was about seven o’clock on Sunday night when Luis Teuyul said he heard a loud bang.

 

Luis Adolfo Teuyul, First Responder

“We heard the noise from far. I came on my bike and when I reached over here I sew the vehicle in the water. And I went in to the water and I found that it was a white pick-up and then I went in again and I found a guy that was trapped inside the pickup. He was hard to take out because it was completely mash up inside.”

 

Driving the vehicle at the time was Garcia. The duo was coming into San Antonio Village when they plunged into the Hondo. Teuyul along with other villagers fished out the first body about half an hour after the crash. The first to be identified was Copo Junior.

 

Fermina Jimenez

Fermina Jimenez, Aunt of Reymundo Copo (Translated)

“It was about eight o’clock in the night that they came to advice him, that an ID appeared from Delfina Copo. We were wondering who was Delfina Copo because Delfina Copo is his grandmother but she died two years ago. He was carrying the ID in his pocket. They later said that it was a man who died, a man who is skinny and tall. From there we realized that it was

It was not until this morning at around eight o’clock that the body of Garcia was fished out. Garcia left his home in Guinea Grass in his GMC pick-up truck on Sunday afternoon.”

 

Gerturdes Garcia, Father of Alfonso Garcia

“We took lunch all together, about twelve-thirty the latest. He went to bed, laid down about half an hour. After that he came out, I was with my next son checking his vehicle and I all of sudden I didn’t see when he gone. He didn’t tell me anything.”

 

Before leaving the village, Garcia picked up Copo Junior who was asked by his father to remain home; a request that fell on deaf ears.

 

Fermina Jimenez (Translated)

“Yesterday at around two in the afternoon the boy “Chuy Chuy” passed finding him, that they were going there. He asked where are we going? We are going to give a circle, he told him. His father asked him where he is gong and he did not want to tell him where he was going. And he told him to not go. I will still go he said and he took off. He was stubborn. He started to fight with  his sisters and he still left.”

 

The men were not heard from for a couple of hours.  It remains unclear why they were heading to San Antonio Village.

 

Gerturdes Garcia

Fermina Jimenez (Translated)

“What did they go to do? That is what is on my mind. What did he do go there? What did he go search for? We don’t know.”

 

Gerturdes Garcia

“He always used to come out but he always stays in the Village. He takes a little time to come, seven-thirty. The latest eight o’clock but he does reach. But this time up to right now he hasn’t reached as yet.”

 

The belief is that the men may have been speeding and did not know the area of the bridge and road; that reprotedly led to their deaths.

 

Luis Adolfo Teuyul

Luis Adolfo Teuyul

“Yes, real speed because to fly up that bridge it is a real speed that they were coming.”

 

Gerturdes Garcia

“I don’t know because you see we can say that they are good at home but outside we can never know. How fast he drives, we could never know because I wasn’t along with him.   It is really painful but that is life because I used to advise him a lot and I don’t know what happened to him. I really, really don’t know.”

 

The low-lying bridge at the entrance of San Antonio Village has claimed several lives. In April 2019, Kelvin Augustine, Efrain Martinez and Oscar Portillo plunged into the river and died. In 2018, Belize City residence Francis Paquil met the same fate. The bridge is considered dangerous and one resident says it’s the bridge of death.

 

Benjamin Chulin, First Responder

“This bridge is no longer the bride of life. It is the bridge of death because what we are seeing is too much.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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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