By NALINEE SEELAL Monday, May 19 2008
A BIRTHDAY bash in La Filette Village, Las Cuevas, came to an abrupt end yesterday when a car transporting the celebrant’s relatives and friends to the bash, ran off the North Coast Road in Maracas and plunged down a steep precipice.
One of the occupants, identified as Stacey Trotman, 21, of Belmont Valley Road, Belmont, died while being taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. According to police reports, at about 9.30 am, Rick Sampson, 24, was driving his Nissan B14 along the North Coast Road.
Also in the car at the time were his girlfriend Trotman, who sat in the front passenger seat; his brother Dexter Sampson, 27; and the brother’s relative Wallisha “Sunshine” McClatchie, 15.
Without warning, Sampson lost control of the steering wheel about a quarter of a mile from the Maracas look-out and as he tried to keep the vehicle on the road, it flipped, crashed into a tree and then veered off the road down the precipice. Claudette Heidi McClatchie, who celebrated her 36th birthday yesterday was in another car which was proceeding some distance behind Sampson’s car. The group were en route to the La Filette home of McClatchie’s mother to celebrate.
When she saw a group of people looking down the precipice, McClatchie stopped her car and enquired what was going on. Told of the accident, McClatchie almost collapsed.
Recalling the incident, a sombre McClatchie told this reporter she started to pray at the side of the road while several persons climbed down the precipice to get to the car.
McClatchie said she was overcome with relief when she saw her daughter Wallisha climbing up the precipice towards the road. “I ran and hugged my child...I shouted ‘thank God’ that my girl was not seriously injured,” McClatchie said. She then began praying for the safety of the others who were still trapped in the car.
Firemen and police arrived on the scene and climbed down towards the car. They found the Sampson brothers pinned under a tree while Trotman remained unconscious in the car.
Maracas resident Solomon Sandy, whose wife sold chow and confectionary along the North Coast Road, said he assisted the fire officers in the rescue.
He said the firemen, with help from other persons, lifted up the tree trunk under which the brothers were trapped. Sandy said he saw a young girl crawling out of the car. She appeared to be dazed.
The Sampson brothers, and Trotman were hoisted up to the road and taken to hospital in ambulances which had arrived. Trotman reportedly died while en route to hospital.
McClatchie said she and her relatives were planning a curry duck and roti birthday lime but instead, everyone was left in shock after the accident.
“This is a terrible way to spend your birthday. My good friend lost her life on her way to celebrate my birthday,” McClatchie said.
Relatives said that Rick Sampson who sustained a fracture to the spine had been asking if his girlfriend (Trotman) was alright. Up to late yesterday, no one had told him that Trotman had died, out of fear that the news could affect his recovery.
Constables Jervais and Ramlogan of the Maracas Bay Police Station are continuing investigations.