An outing turned tragic on Sunday evening after the minibus in which the youngsters were travelling turned turtle along the Diamond Public Road, East Bank Demerara (EBD), leaving two dead and two critically injured.
The accident occurred at about 22:00h as the minibus bearing registration number BXX 7256 driven by a 23-year-old unlicensed driver from Five Door Koker Dam, Land-of-Canaan, EBD, toppled several times before coming to a halt in the vicinity of DDL. Police confirmed that the driver was driving at a fast rate and might have lost control while negotiating a turn.
In addition, a breathalyser test conducted on him proved that he was above the legal limit of alcohol consumption.
However, the dead teenagers were identified as Anthony “Junior” Persaud, 18, of Lot 158 Old Road, Land of Canaan, EBD, and Aaliyah Edwards, 19, of Lot 16 Land of Canaan, EBD.
Seventeen-year-old Johnny Persaud, also of Lot 158 Land of Canaan, EBD, and Michael James, 16, of Lot 29 Koker Dam, Land of Canaan, EBD, are currently in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Johnny Persaud is suffering from severe head injuries and contusions to the chest while James is nursing head injuries.
Several others were injured in the accident and were also admitted for treatment. They are Sabrina Corlette, 18, of Hyde Park, Timehri, EBD, who is suffering from head injuries and an open fracture dislocation to the right ankle and Seth Abrams, 18, of Schoonord, West Bank Demerara (WBD), who sustained deep abrasion injuries to the right leg.
In addition, Jessie Wishart, 23, and Joel Wishart, 20, of Lot 43 Old Road, Land of Canaan, EBD; Odarry Gonsalves, 18, of Lot 192 Old Road, Land of Canaan, EBD; Valencia George, 18, of Lot 80 Land of Canaan, EBD; Shane Argyle, 17, of Koker Dam, Land of Canaan, EBD, were all treated and sent away.
At the home of Anthony and Johnny Persaud, an aunt Chandroutie Persaud related that she was at home and at about 23:00h, the family received information about the accident. “Someone call and tell we that Anthony dead and his brother, Johnny is in a critical state.”
After getting the news, she related that the mother to the two boys travelled to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre where they were told that the teenagers were transferred to the Georgetown Hospital. There, they were informed that Anthony was pronounced dead on arrival while Johnny was admitted in a serious condition.
She noted that her sister-in-law is at the hospital and is updating them on his condition. “She say that he moving and so… but he cannot talk… the doctors checking in on he to make sure he okay but, he deh real serious,” the aunt noted.
A brother of the two teenagers explained that they left home at about 14:30h saying that they were going to a resort in Timehri and then to the seawalls. “We get news till around ten something that the bus crash up… we went down to the hospital and like half hour after we see ambulance and a hearse come… my brother (Anthony) was in there, dead…and the next one (Johnny) they rush up to the ICU and he is on life support.”
He described his dead brother as a kind and humble person who was always a hustler. Anthony, he noted, was rearing chickens to assist his family in the construction of their home. In addition, the now dead teenager and his injured brother also did construction work with a private contractor.
Meanwhile, a short distance away Aaliyah Edwards lived, whose parents were not at home when Guyana Times visited. However, during a telephone interview, her mother Sharon Edwards related that her now dead daughter left home at about 10:00h to go out with some friends.
“She tell me that they were going to Banzie Creek, in Timehri and I know that due to the pandemic and so, she was expected to be back home by 5 but 5 o’clock come and she ain’t come home… 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and she ain’t come and I start get worried… try to make contact with her plenty time by still I ain’t get no contact,” the aggrieved mother related.
She further stated that at about 23:00h, they received a telephone call informing them that Aaliyah was in an accident. “Her brother answered the phone and, in the background, he hear people screaming and persons saying ‘tell them she dead’…I panic after we get the news and right away we left and went to the hospital.”
The mother explained that based on a video that was shown to her, she saw her now dead daughter standing but then collapsed and later succumbed. “She stand up good good and then she make one fall down… by the time the ambulance come and they tek she to the hospital, she was dead,” the mother added. The teenager leaves to mourn her parents and seven other siblings.
Guyana Times was later told the outing was a surprise for a friend’s birthday. Nevertheless, during investigations, Police found out that the minibus driver was in possession of a bogus licence and as such, at the time of the accident, he was an unlicensed driver.
He remains in custody and is expected to be charged shortly.