FATHER OF ONE KILLED
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Saturday, August 10 2013
WHILE many people were yesterday enjoying the Eid-ul-Fitr public holiday, an El Socorro family was mourning the death of their loved one, a 35-year-old father of one who died along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway after being knocked down by a TT Coast Guard van.
Police reported that shortly before 7 am yesterday, Andy Mark of Hingoo Lands, El Socorro was crossing the highway from south to north in the vicinity of El Socorro Road, when on reaching the east-bound lane, he was knocked down by an oncoming blue Nissan Navara van with TT Coast Guard licence plates.
Mark was thrown several feet in the air on collision and landed a short distance away along the highway. The driver of the van brought the vehicle to a stop, in an attempt to render assistance but Mark was already dead.
The police were immediately notified and a party of officers from the Barataria Police Station responded. The area was cordoned off, and the officers directed oncoming vehicles around the scene of the incident, in order to alleviate any traffic congestion.
Police said the vehicle is a Coast Guard van, with the registration markings 4 CG 55, and was driven by an assistant mechanic seaman attached to the Coast Guard. Police sources said the driver told investigators that he had seen Mark crossing the highway.
However, the driver claimed, while crossing the highway, Mark turned around and tried to walk back to the median. The driver said he attempted to pull the van to the right to avoid hitting Mark but the left side of the van struck the pedestrian.
Police also noted that Mark was killed between two walkovers and they once again pleaded with pedestrians to use these walkovers instead of risking life and limb by crossing the highway.
“An inconvenience is not worth your life. So we are asking members of the public to please use the facilities that the State has put in place for them. Take that extra walk. It might seem tedious, but the walkovers are there to avoid tragedies such as these,” explained one officer.
When Newsday visited Mark’s home yesterday, his relatives had gathered to celebrate the life of “a kind and loving man” and mourn his passing. Although the relatives asked not to be identified, they did share their stories of the 35-year-old father who they said, was gone too soon.
“He was such a cool going person. So kind. So loving. So strong. He was a family man, and no matter his age, he was a mama’s boy. He loved his mother so, so much. And he loved his daughter just as fiercely. Put it simply? He loved life, and everything about life, and he will be sorely missed. He is gone too soon,” stated a relative.
Mark’s mother recalled that she had spent Thursday night talking with her son, catching up with him and listening to the plans he had for the rest of the year. She said yesterday morning, Mark decided to go to work half day so he could earn some extra money. She said he was expected to come home later in the afternoon to meet his 13-year-old daughter and spend time with her. He worked at a scaffolding rental company.
“As he was getting ready to leave, he said he wanted $20. I asked him if that’s all he wanted and I told his brother to give him the money. I asked him if he had enough money to take a taxi to work and he said ‘yes’. He then left the house and went off to work.
“A little after seven o’clock, I got a call from one of his workers. Andy was supposed to be at the office for seven. When he did not reach to work, they called his phone and a police officer answered the call saying that Andy was lying on the highway dead.
“I don’t know why he crossed the highway. I figure because of the hour, he probably didn’t get a taxi and was fed up of waiting so he decided to walk. He’s done that before. My thing is, why was the Coast Guard driver speeding so? And how can he say he didn’t see my son? If it was in the night when this happened, it would still hurt us, but we would understand. But this was in broad daylight,” the anguished woman cried.
“You are in the Coast Guard. It is daylight and yet you claim you did not see my boy crossing?
“And worse yes, we were told the highway was clear. There was no traffic. You were driving so fast that you could not avoid hitting my boy on the highway? Not at all,” she cried.
Public Relation’s Officer at the TT Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Kirk Jean Baptiste acknowledged that an accident involving a Coast Guard vehicle had occurred but preferred not to say anything else on the incident as an active investigation is underway.
“What I would like to say, is that I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased man. It is a tragic situation where someone’s son, brother and father has passed on. So on behalf of the Coast Guard, I would like to extend our sincerest condolences,” Jean Baptiste said. Corporal Mungalsingh of the Barataria Police is leading investigations.