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Feb 8, 2011

2 traffic accidents; one fatality

Hallet Baeza

There are two traffic accidents to report tonight; one turned fatal for a Belize City Customs Guard.  Hallet Baeza did not make it home from an assignment up north as the vehicle he was traveling in overturned not far from the village of Carmelita. Baeza was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to head and body injuries. His family is grieving his sudden passing and the driver of the vehicle is under investigation. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The blood-spattered driver’s seat and extensively damaged right passenger side of this Isuzu Rodeo are just a few of the mangled remains of the sports utility vehicle.  The SUV which at the time was traveling south towards Belize City experienced a massive blowout causing it to overturn violently along the Northern Highway.  The mishap which occurred between miles thirty-six and thirty-five on Monday evening claimed the life of the passenger, fifty-one year old Hallet Baeza, a customs guard who was returning from Corozal.  His son, himself a customs officer, was on duty when he received word of the tragedy.

Voice of: Hallet Baeza’s Son

“I was in Cayo working [when] I got a call from my supervisor informing me that my father has been in an accident but that was all he told me.  I had no more information about how he was and what condition he was in.  He immediately told me to finish what I was doing and head home to the family.  That was all I got.  So unknowingly that probably he was already dead.  I went back to my station, got into my car and immediately went to Belize City.”

Baeza’s son made the seventy-eight mile commute only to find out that his father had been transported to the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town.  There Baeza succumbed to severe head and body injuries he received during the accident.

Voice of: Hallet Baeza’s Son

“Presently, my siblings are in Orange Walk trying to get the body down to the Belize City morgue.  [Uhm] It was a shock to me first of all, you know.  My father died on my birthday so I’m very bitter.  I’m very angry and I’m just trying to get some answers.”

Also looking for answers are personnel from the Ladyville Police Sub-formation.  The vehicle’s driver, businessman Ashok Bhojwani, has since been served with a notice of intended prosecution.  The wreckage, on the other hand, seems to indicate that Bhojwani may have been speeding when his right back tire suddenly blew out.

Voice of: Hallet Baeza’s Son

“My father is a customs guard.  His job is to secure cargo from point A to point B.  He approximately finished his task and had a straight ride home with this person.  He does that daily, everyday to my knowledge and he was just unfortunate yesterday.”

A little over twelve hours later another accident took place along the same stretch of road, this time however, a lot closer to the Old Capital. Belize City businessman Ramon Galvez, along with his four year old daughter, was making a turn from Belama Phase Two into the Northern Highway during rush hour this morning when a reckless driver traveling in the opposite direction collided into his pickup.  His sister Yolanda Schakron told us what happened.

Yolanda Schakron, Sister of Accident Victim

“When he was doing the left turn there was a car coming, a red car, very, very fast and he said he just felt the car just hit him and when it hit him he just, ih say ih noh know weh happen, he just… His daughter was in the car and she just fly over the whole vehicle.  She got hurt on her face.  My brother has his, his shoulder was dislocated and he’s going to be out for six weeks.  He can’t do anything.”

yolanda Schakron

According to Schakron motorists driving along the edge of the highway during rush hour is a regular occurrence on the busy expressway.

Yolanda Schakron

“I guess they’re late so they just start overtaking, overtaking and sometimes there is no space for them to get in.  So we as drivers we [would] have to push over to give them space [because] if not it can cause an accident.  So I would appeal to, you know, the Traffic Department to probably put some traffic officers to monitor that in the morning because everyone is trying to get to work [and] it’s very hectic.”

The traffic and police departments have both established highway patrols, but they are yet to address that particular issue.  Meanwhile, an investigation into the accident that claimed the life of Hallet Baeza remains ongoing. 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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13 Responses for “2 traffic accidents; one fatality”

  1. reggie says:

    The Traffic Dept.Need to go private,they should hire a company that can patrol the highway and for every ticket they issued the G.O.B. get 40% .the company will used their Vehicle so it will be no cost to the G.O.B. Plus the G.O.B. will be the one to collect the money.All the Traffic Office just work in the City.It is a wast of much ticket can they issued for the day in the city?Don’t know what is going on with this G.O.B. First thing they will say no money no de.(Daddy Tracy Song is coming to reality In the Land)They need new people with idea to run thing in Belize.Reply to me if the Dept.Need Help.The Minister Hulse don’t know anything about Traffic.He should Take over the Police Dept.Forget who make a song that say EVERYTHING CRASH,THAT IS WHAT GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY.GET RID OF THIS G.O.B.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    My condolences to the Baeza Family. A blowout is a blowout, what turns it into a disaster is traveling at a high rate of speed which causes the driver to lose control.

  3. The People Had Enough says:

    agreed BZNinCALI, i have had many blow outs before, once i had one going at 70MPH (the highway limit in the USA i believe) and i had no problems controlling my vehicle, therefore this person must have been going at a much higher rate. very, very hard to lose control of a vehicle going less that this, unless you are not paying attention and simply dont know your vehicle and how it truly handles.

  4. Mary Fuller says:

    It is very sad when you go home and see the way drivers drive on the so call highway and is always overtaking each other without even signals. I am always scared. They drive like they are on freeways and with no speed limits. Only when someone dies they talk about the traffic police.
    The Government should try and make this better. Look how terrible that small road from the airport to Belize city is. They cannot even fix that road by the bridge anyone ever drive at night time all they need to do is make the road wider. Instead of putting the money in their pockets.

    My condolence to the Beazer Family

  5. Proud Belizean says:

    Agree with Reggi and BZNinCali. Sympathies to the Baeza family.

  6. Belama Resident says:

    I call this area of road,between the last round about and the Haulover Bridge the KILLING FIELD. the amount of deaths and traffic accident in that area is amazing and the authorities simply ignore the problem the pedestrian crossing that was there already by Brodies was removed and never replaced. Not even a median line is painted on this highway.
    the law that states a driver who wants to make a left turn must pullover on the right shoulder of the road and then turn is archaic. this was in place when Belama, 1-2 -3-4 and 5 did not exist, neither did BellaVista, coral crove, Buttonwood Bay, Drift wood bay . all these residential areas have a highway ruuning thru them with vehicles doing50-60 miles/hr easy overtaking, racing, it is crazy. I think the relatives of persons killed in the future on this highway should sue the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Works and the Mayor of the City .

  7. Earl Grey says:

    I have to disagree with Reggie about privatization of the Traffic Department……BAD IDEA.


    THIS could be a source of revenue for the GOB issuing tickets.

  8. concernedbelizean says:

    i would like to know why the customs department didn’t provide this employee a vehicle, instead of him getting a ride back. after all when they need the vehicles for the service they cannot provide them but look at some GOB employees using the vehicles for personal use. On saturday and sundays when the vehicles should be parked they are out with family having trips and so forth while GOB paying for the Fuel.

  9. Frustrated driver says:

    My sentiments exactly, concernedbelizean. I frequently drive from Houston, thru Mexico and then to Belize, and that last leg of my journey is always the scariest. The problem is not only the bad roads (though a major part of it) but more important is the way we drive on Belize. A lot of times, drivers overtake on a curve, they speed like crazy, even when passing thru populated areas on the highway, and at night, they put on their killer high beam straight into the eyes of the driver coming in the opposite direction. We are our own enemies on that Highway.

  10. talkditings says:

    yow !*** all dat blame game !@#$, i swear but let me juss say rest in peace to Hallet, u will be missed

  11. shock says:

    To most drivers moving a vehicle from point A to point B is all there is to driving. What real training have they gone through to become a driver, something that is so potentially dangerous? Quite often I heard about drivers in Belize losing control of a vehicle due to blow out of a tire, foolishness. Tires are made to function in a certain manner that allow the driver to maintain control when a tire blow out. I’ve been driving for over 50 years in all kinds of roads and highways in many countries without any accident. I started to drive in Belize when the hummingbird so-call highway was nothing but a death trap, when many drivers would not drive over that road. I heard that it is greatly improved.

    I treat a vehcle like a loaded gun, it can hurt or kill myself or someone elce. Go to some of these countries in Europe and see the kind of driving skills someone has to develop, especially public transport operators. I’ve in Germany when there was a 250 cars and trucks pile up and no one died nor seriously hurt. Why not? Good highways, good cars, vehicle, and excellent drivers. To reduce accident there must be well taught drivers which should include been courteous to other drivers, and drive for the other driver; mean to be a defensive driver, as the live that you save might be your own life. If you are going to drive fast, you need steady nerves not to panic when things go wrong.

  12. corf says:

    I totally agree with “talkditings”.Stop with the blame game. An accident can be just that, an accident.How many of us really check our tires every morning before we leave.Stop being so ignorant and rediculous. When its our time to go ,there is nothing that will stop us from leaving, but I guess its much easier to blame Mr Bjojwani than to blame God. Its his time people. My heart goes out to the families of both parties involved, because im sure it must be hard for the driver to live with that on his conscience and may Mr Baeza’s soul R.I.P.

  13. rufus says:

    I was gonna say implement speed zones but Belizeans don’t know how to follow rules and the law. Then I was thinking why they weren’t wearing seatbelts but it came to me that Belizeans haven’t figured out how to work seatbelts yet some don’t even know it exist!

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