|EID TRAGEDY |
By JULIEN NEAVES and STACY MOORE Wednesday, July 30 2014
THE PEACE of the Eid-ul-Fitr public holiday yesterday was shattered when a Penal family was virtually wiped out when a vehicular accident along the Uriah Butler Highway saw the lives of a man, his wife and their son being snuffed out — leaving two other children orphaned.
Dead are Mahadeo Ramcharan, 47, from Ramsabad Trace, Rochard Road, Penal, his wife Nanda Sundar Ramcharan, 36, and 13-year-old Nyron Ramcharan. Orphaned are Rikash Ramcharan, 17, and Nigel Ramcharan, 12.
Grieving relatives told Newsday that young Nyron, who three years ago underwent transplant surgery after receiving a kidney from his mother, usually went to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope every Tuesday and Friday for dialysis.
Although yesterday was a public holiday, Nyron and his father and mother left their home for the EWMSC for Nyron’s dialysis.
Police reported that at about 1.45 pm, the family was heading home with Mahadeo driving his Honda Civic car south along the Uriah Butler Highway. At the same time, a white Mitsubishi Lancer car which was proceeding on the north-bound lane of the said highway, struck the back of a blue rubbish truck near the Endeavour Flyover. The truck swerved to the right, crossed the median which divides the north and southbound lanes and slammed head on into Ramcharan’s car which was proceeding on the southbound lane. The impact, police said, crumpled Ramcharan’s car killing Mahadeo, Nanda and young Nyron on the spot.
Firemen who along with the police, were called in, had to use the hydraulic cutting device commonly called the “jaws of life” to cut through the mangled wreck to reach the bodies.
Police Service spokesman Insp Wayne Mystar, who spoke to reporters at the scene of the accident, said the driver of the rubbish truck and his loader both sustained minor injuries and were taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility. The driver of the Lancer, aged 21, who was the lone occupant in the car, sustained no injury. He was taken to the Chaguanas Police Station and was administered a breathalyser test which he passed. Another driver who witnessed the accident provided a statement to police.
As crime scene officers, clad in white garb, gently lifted the bloodied bodies of the three, gasps were heard from the crowd which had gathered. The bodies were sent to the Forensic Science Centre where autopsies are expected to be done today.
The rubbish truck was turned on its right side and parts of the two vehicles were strewn across the highway. The smell of gas and oil remained strong in the air. Head of Central Division Snr Supt Johnny Abraham was at the scene coordinating officers to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
“Listen, one fatality is too much in Trinidad and Tobago. We are asking drivers to please slow down. Speed and indiscriminate driving are the main causes of accidents. We are appealing to members of the public please, please adhere to the traffic laws and obey the speed limit. Do not drink and drive,” Mystar said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Mobile) Deodath Dulalchan, who was also on the scene, expressed sympathy to the relatives of the deceased.
At the house of mourning, Nanda’s sister Marilyn Sunday Rampersad told Newsday her sister revealed that over the weekend she (Nanda) had dreamt three freshly dug graves and a snake on a wall.
“We were wondering what that dream was about, but now we know. My sister foresaw her death. She foresaw her husband and son’s deaths,” Marilyn said. She revealed both Nyron and his father were unusually hesitant to go for the dialysis.
“Nyron kept asking if he had to go today as it was a public holiday. Even his father was asking if they had to go. But we told Nyron he should go as the dialysis is the only way to help him live with his kidney condition,” Rampersad said.
She revealed that Nyron did not write the SEA test this year but thanks to the Education Ministry, was still placed at the Barrackpore East Secondary School, which elder brother Rikash attends so that he (Rikash) could have cared for Nyron, who Rampersad described as “delicate”.
Contacted for comment, former Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner slammed current Works Minister Suruj Rambachan for stopping a cable barrier project after Warner resigned from Cabinet and the Government. The Chaguanas West MP charged that the project was stopped because it was deemed a “Warner project.” A cable barrier is a type of roadside or median barrier to prevent collisions and accidents.
But Rambachan dismissed Warner’s claims as “cheap politicking” saying the cable barrier project is ongoing and tenders for four sections of highway, including the Solomon Hochoy Highway, have been sent out. He said the ultimate plan was to have cable barriers along all of the nation’s highways.
Rambachan expressed condolences to the relatives of the Ramcharan family. “It is really sad that an entire family could be wiped out...could lose their lives. It is a national tragedy,” Rambachan said. Investigations are continuing.