Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Bus crash in Westmoreland claims three lives

Published:Tuesday | December 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The crumpled Toyota Hiace bus involved in a fatal accident in Westmoreland yesterday. - Photo by Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Three people have been confirmed dead after the Hiace mini bus in which they were travelling from Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, crashed into a parked truck along the Belmont main road in the parish yesterday morning.

Dead are 58-year-old Pixley Ennis of Effortville in Clarendon; Neville Campbell of a Galloway, Westmoreland, address and Paulette Watt of Grange Hill in the parish.

Several passengers were treated and released from the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital, while others, including the driver of the bus, remained hospitalised after being taken to the accident and emergency centre for treatment.

According to reports, at approximately 7:15 a.m. yesterday the Hiace minibus was en route to Kingston with a full load of passengers when it crashed head-on into the parked truck, killing the three on the spot.

The police believe speeding was the main cause of the accident and information gleaned from survivors told a grim tale.

"We left Savanna-la-Mar and he was driving real fast. That is the usual for these bus drivers," recalled Amoy Hawthorne. "Anyway, I didn't see the actual accident as I dosed off into a little sleep."

Hawthorne added: "All I know is I heard a big bang and the seat I was sitting in, flung me forward. Blood was everywhere."

She had her arm in a cast and her right foot was swollen from the impact. She was one of the luckier ones. Others had far more serious injuries. At least two persons were under observation after being knocked unconscious.

Another passenger, 43-year-old Lance Walcott, had a nasty gash on his head, which required 14 stitches. He also had a number of cuts and bruises all over his body.

Walcott, too, suggested that speeding was the cause of the accident.

GRATEFUL

"At the time of the accident, I know I was asleep, but the driver was speeding once he left Sav. It's common practice. I am just grateful that God spared my life, but I am also sad that others were not so lucky," he said.

Campbell's sister, Delvis Campbell-Henry, told The Gleaner that her brother was on his way to Kingston to purchase items which he sold in the town for a living.

"It's just a terrible way to die," she said. "Neville was a very quiet man. It is hard for the family to come to terms with. I am very saddened by this tragedy."

The truck driver, who wished not to be named, said he slowed almost to a stop.

"... I had the sun glare in my eyes and I pulled over, almost stopping. Then I felt and heard the crash. I am thinking that it's the same for the bus driver because we were both driving in the same direction."

rural@gleanerjm.com