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Oct 12, 2022

Junior College Student Perishes in Corozal RTA

Jorge Vargas

A fatal road traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway has left a sixth form student dead and as many as eleven persons with multiple degrees of injuries. According to police, twenty-one-year-old Jorge Vargas was traveling in a taxi van along with six other passengers when the vehicle collided head-on into a Toyota Land Cruiser ambulance in Ranchito Village. Reports are that the ambulance was being driven by thirty-three-year-old Louis Canelo. Two female nurses, a female minor, and her mother were also inside the ambulance at the time. According to police, the ambulance was en route to the Northern Regional Hospital when it attempted to overtake a truck. In the process of doing so, the ambulance collided into the taxi van which was headed in the opposite direction. Vargas reportedly died upon impact. News Five’s Paul Lopez travelled north today. He filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

A twenty-one-year-old student from Corozal Town lost his life in a tragic road traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway. On Tuesday evening, Jorge Vargas was among a group of students travelling in a taxi van from San Roman Village to Corozal Town when tragedy struck in Ranchito Village. The taxi they were in collided head-on into an ambulance that was travelling in the opposite direction. At the time, Jorge and three other passengers in the van were heading home from classes at Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College. Among the first persons to arrive at the scene of the accident was Hugo Gonzalez, the dean of the sixth form.


Hugo Gonzalez

Hugo Gonzalez, Dean, Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College

“I was at home already and teacher notified me that she was on the scene of the accident and when she notified me I immediately got up and I drove to the scene of the accident. When I got there some of the students had already been transported to the Corozal Community Hospital, then I saw the body of Jorge Vargas was still on the scene of the accident.”


Jorge Vargas died on the spot. Today, an altar was erected inside the school’s cafeteria in memory of the business student. His colleagues wore all black to school. Friends of Jorge penned emotional farewell notes inside the pages of a book that was placed beside the altar. One student wrote, “To my dear friend Jorge, may you rest in peace, you are in a better place today.” Another student, “I didn’t get to tell you how I felt about you. I always said tomorrow and tomorrow. But, look what happened yesterday. It is very hard losing you. I feel like I can’t breathe.”


Hugo Gonzalez

“When we got here this morning a lot of the students were very sad. Some came to offer their condolences. Teachers are going through a very difficult time coming to accept the fact that he is no longer with us. In the history of our school, this is the second student we have lost for the fifteen years we have been in operation.”


And while the school is finding it hard to come to terms with the loss, Vargas’ immediate family has been overtaken with grief since they received word of the tragedy. His mother was too distraught to give an interview.  Rafael Riverol, Jorge Vargas’ cousin, spoke with us on the family’s behalf.


Rafael Riverol

Rafael Riverol, Cousin of Deceased

“Yesterday evening the mother, as she would routinely do, she would pick him up at a certain spot in town. So, she did receive the call from Jorge affectionately known as Georgy for us saying that he is leaving the school and he would be picked up at My Lights at three thirty p.m. So, when the family heard about an accident, we are a very supportive and joint family so everybody started calling and we know that we have him traveling daily for school. His father was working as well and he was coming from Orange Walk. So, we were the first ones to know and we didn’t want for them to know until they were at home. But, unfortunately that didn’t happen. They found out before the time that yes indeed it was Georgito, Georgy, was the one who died at the scene.”


Riverol described Jorge as a fun and jovial individual. He was nearing the end of his final year of studies in the school’s business entrepreneurship program.  Jorge was also a football player and an active member of his community.


Rafael Riverol

“Right now I think it is more heartbreaking to find out that he did achieve his three point honor roll and he did receive some awards just days before yesterday.”


Centro Escolar Mexico JC is involved in planning the funeral. The school has also extended its assistance to the families of all the students involved in the tragic accident.


Hugo Gonzalez

“We are talking about three other students. Currently at the Corozal Community Hospital we have Anthony Tzib who is from Patchakan Village. He is being treated there.  Then we have, I was made to understand that Armando Patt was transported this morning from the Corozal Community Hospital and is now being treated at the Northern Regional Hospital.  The other student is Aaliyah Marokin, I spoke to her. She was stable but she had suffered multiple fractures and she had an abrasion to her head.”


In honor of the hard work that Vargas dedicated in his schooling up until the time of his passing, an honorary degree will be awarded to his family.


Hugo Gonzalez

“Jorge was about to graduate in December. So, I was having a conversation with my chairman earlier. And, the school does intend on having a program tribute to his life and we are going to issue an honorary associate degree to the parents.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


The driver of the ambulance and the two female nurses received varying degrees of injuries. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has offered its condolences to the family and friends of Jorge Vargas and to all those affected by the tragedy. A release from the ministry notes that it is fully cooperating with the police in the investigation in order to determine the cause of the accident.

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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