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Jan 16, 2008

Drivers blame each other for Tuesday’s fatal collision

Story PictureAnother person has died following Tuesday afternoon’s traffic accident on the Southern Highway. Two of the five injured in the crash were airlifted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last night and that’s where News Five’s Janelle Chanona picked up the story this morning.

Brian Castillo, Accident Victim
“I remember when we turn in and see that the next truck coming to hit us. And my friend along with me in the pan of the truck told me to hold on, don’t jump out. And that’s where I lose consciousness.”

Tonight thirty-four year old Brian Castillo is one of five people recovering from injuries they received during a traffic accident at the Hopkins junction with the Southern Highway. According to investigators, around three on Tuesday afternoon a tow head truck heading towards Dangriga collided with a Ford Ranger that was making a left hand turn into the Hopkins road. Fifty-seven year old Charles Rubio was behind the wheel of the Ranger.

Charles Rubio Sr., Pickup Driver
“The P.G. bus meh park in front of Hopkins road and I come right up behind the P.G. bus was to swing into Hopkins and I look and he was a way coming so I say we could cross the road because he must slow down, people was coming off the bus to go to Hopkins so you know you have to slow down, you can’t pass crazy. He pick up more speed instead of slowing down.”

The impact demolished the Ranger. Rubio’s grandson, two year old Jafhon Valentine, who had been sitting in the backseat, suffered severe body injuries and was declared dead on arrival at the Southern Regional Hospital. Another passenger, seventy four year old Angela Gutierrez died while undergoing medical treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Brian Castillo and Rubio were also airlifted to the K.H.M.H. Castillo, who broke both legs is scheduled to undergo surgery later this week while Rubio is listed in serious condition. As his distraught family members gathered at his bedside, Rubio blamed the other driver for the crash.

Charles Rubio Sr.
“I expect he was to slow down, cause a bus was taking off passengers. You cannot pass like that, you have to slow down and pass. You don’t know who wah come outta the bus. Several people get kill so already. As a driver you should know that; to slow down and pass at a normal speed. If he had slowed down he could afford to stop the truck from hit us but he didn’t slow down. He pass with about seventy miles an hour. Instead ah he slow down he put more speed. Ih so bad minded cause…”

The driver of the tow head, forty year old Douglas Sutherland, was not injured in the accident. His version of the crash is that Rubio did not signal he was making a turn and there was no way to avoid a collision.

Charles Rubio Jr., Son of Accident Victim
“I no know why I have to wait two weeks fu get justice fu my people when we pay insurance.”

But as the injured lay in hospital, this afternoon the family focused some of their anger at their insurance company.

Charles Rubio Jr.
“I want justice done bout this because we have insurance, right, and the insurance must see that these people get better care because dat dah weh deh tell we when we go insure the vehicle. Now they di push me round fu pay fu come and assist we. And deh tell me bout next two weeks with police report and this. It’s not about police report, it’s about coming and help the people.”

Police investigations into the cause of the crash continue and up to news time, neither driver had been charged in connection to the accident. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

When we checked with Rubio’s insurance company we were informed that his policy is for third party insurance only which would mean that injured passengers would have to attempt to claim damages under the tow head’s insurance policy. The other injured passengers are twenty-six year old Harry Miranda, twenty-eight year old Dalia Miranda and her child, two year old Bunnie Martinez. Of the three, the mother is the most serious as she suffered a broken right arm and pelvis. Post mortems on two year old Jafhon Valentine and Angela Guitterrez have been scheduled for Thursday at the K.H.M.H.

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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