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Dec 5, 2013

Preschooler killed in a traffic accident; his surviving brother is left traumatised

There is public outrage at the unnecessary death of an innocent three year old preschooler that happened on Wednesday afternoon.  Even more so because the driver of a white van that hit him is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol. Two siblings were victims of the horrific accident; one died instantly and the other survived. It happened in a busy area just before four p.m. as the siblings waited for a bus on Cemetery Road.   Today in court, the driver, Hubert Martinez Junior, was slapped with five traffic offenses including one for driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit.   Martinez Junior was additionally charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct in the death of Jahston Terry, as well as negligent wounding upon Terry’s older brother, Jaheem, and one count of driving without due care and attention.  Martinez was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison. But the accident has left the Terry family pretty shaken up. Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Three year old Jahston and nine year old Jaheem Terry were in front of Belizean Chinese fast food restaurant on Cemetery Road, across from Constitution Park when a van ended up on the sidewalk and ran over the children; killing baby Jahston instantly.  Stunned onlookers stood by as  baby Jahston laid lifeless of the sidewalk and his brother injured to the left ankle. Their mother, Keisha Terry, was at work when she was notified of the tragedy.


Keisha Terry, Mother of Accident Victims

Keisha Terry

“We live in Hattieville, but my mom mi help me out with them because the traveling was too hectic with three kids because I have a nine year old, the three year old and a one year old. So she tell me, just fi make they keep her company, fi make dehn go up there for a two three days and I send them. But my kids go home with me—I live in Hattieville. My kids live with me and my dad in Hattieville. So they normally wait fi me dah the bus station, we ketch our bus and then go home together; my kids neva di stray about. I woulda mi feel more at ease—dah mi baby, ih can’t come back, nothing can bring him back—if they mi tell me mi baby mi di run out pan street. But mi baby mi deh pan di side walk. And this reckless driver just come out of nowhere and knocked my baby dehn down. It coulda mi be my two baby dehn.”


Voice of: Eyewitness

“The small one, the back wheel of the van ran over his head and that is where it burst open his skull.”



“The nine year old, is he telling you guys anything as to what happened?”


Keisha Terry

“Honestly he just could recall—because his back mi turn the way the vehicle mi di come—ih say mommy, I hold mi lee bredda hand tight tight. I mi di hold ih hand and the vehicle just back ahn weh. He eve describe that he still had ih hand hold and he just di bawl, bawl. Please help ahn; ih noh want ih lee bredda dead. Please help ahn, help ahn, help ahn.”



“And he got hurt as well right?”


Keisha Terry

“Yeah he broke back of his foot broke.”


The fatal incident happened around three-thirty p.m. on Wednesday as many commuters—mainly school children—waited for bus to get home. Many persons who witnessed the traumatic ordeal were angered by what had happened and condemned the driver of the white Ford Triton van, thirty-six year old Hubert Martinez. According to one witness, after hitting the children, the van also knocked down a sign before coming to a stop.


Voice of: Eyewitness

“I saw this white van coming and a coke truck was there slowing down because of the hole and he overtake and he couldn’t made it so her decided to come up on the sidewalk because he couldn’t make the pass. And when he came up the two little students were walking on the sidewalk and he ran over them. He continue drive through making his way pass this bus shed, took down the sign along with him and afterwards, me and the other taxi guy that work out here ran and stopped him and told him that he killed this little guy on the sidewalk.”


From the video we gathered at the scene, inside the van had beer bottles.


Voice of: Eyewitness

“He has looked intoxicated. I personally went to the van and when I looked in the van I saw the Belikin pints and some that were not opened also. So it shows signs that he was drinking. Something like this I think they need to deal with him. No manslaughter but give him a serious penalty because it could have been worse; more people could have died.”


And for nine year old Jaheem, who remains hospitalized at the K.H.M.H. with a broken leg, it is a nighmare. He is completely traumatized saying he is responsible. Mother, Keisha Terry, says that they are trying to get counseling for him.


Keisha Terry

“We are trying our best with family members and friends; everybody we di try wi best to get him dah counseling. We start from last night because he keeps blaming himself. But we comfort him and tell ahn dah noh fi he fault.”


The family says they want justice for baby Jahston’s death. Duane Moody for News Five.


In mourning the death of Jahston, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) lamented the loss of the three year old and the injury to his older brother. The NCFC also reminded motorists and cyclists of the need for additional precautions in this time when our streets are busy with pedestrians – young and old. The NCFC also believes that law enforcement agencies need to prioritize the upgrading of their capacities to transport the deceased in a manner that is more dignified and that measures should be taken to properly cordon off crime scenes especially those that are in public spaces where children have access. 

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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