Fri | Nov 15, 2019

Deadly combination! - Challenging road surface + speed = 4 dead in 36 hours in MoBay

Published:Sunday | March 11, 2018 | 12:13 AMJanet Silvera and Nadine Wilson-Harris
Firefighters and police at the scene where two men lost their lives in Montego Bay, St James, yesterday morning.
The Nissan Tiida motor car shows the impact of the collision which resulted in two men losing their lives in Montego Bay, St James yesterday.
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Head of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport, Kenute Hare, has described Montego Bay’s ‘Elegant Corridor’ as one of the most dangerous road networks in Jamaica.
But he has argued that the lives of four people who died along that stretch in a 36-hour span from last Friday to yesterday could have been spared if the drivers had not been speeding.

“The Elegant Corridor is a problem area. From Lilliput straight to the (Sangster International) airport roundabout,” Hare told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday, hours after 25-year-old Sheldon Hylton and 24-year-old Odaine Smith died when they were thrown from the car in which they were travelling.

That followed Thursday night’s crash that claimed the lives of siblings Chadwick Robinson and Miguel Mills near the Hospiten Hospital in Rose Hall.

“From my experience, whenever I am driving along that Elegant Corridor, I tremble. It is with great trepidation that I traverse that road because the way in which people drive in St James, I have never seen that type of driving anywhere else in Jamaica,” he said.

The road safety expert said some drivers completely disregard road traffic rules in that area.
In the two latest incidents, the drivers of the vehicles were reportedly speeding, with claims that the car in which Robinson and Mill were travelling was involved in a race with another motor car when it crashed Friday night.

Three thrown from vehicle

Hylton and Smith were in a Nissan Tiida, being driven by a friend, when on reaching the Queen’s Drive area near the Sangster International Airport, the car skidded and the driver lost control before it crashed into a post.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle as a result of loose debris from the heavy rains last Friday night. The driver hit the milepost directional sign, rode the embankment, and shot through the ‘Welcome to Montego Bay’ sign,” said an alleged eyewitness.

“Three persons were thrown out of the vehicle, two on the grassy area where the sign is and one in the middle of the road,” he said, adding that he could not muster the courage to go across the road to assist the injured.

“I cannot deal with blood, I am afraid of looking at someone bleeding, so I was very happy to see how quickly the police were on the scene.”

The driver and the other passenger were taken to hospital where they remained admitted up to press time last night.

Several residents of Montego Bay yesterday charged that the uneven surface of the elegant corridor was the cause of some of the collisions along the roadway.

A section of the road near the Half Moon Shopping Village heading towards Montego Bay has sunk, causing serious challenges for unsuspecting drivers.

But Hare said while the road is indeed dangerous, he has found that some motorists ignore the rules of the road when travelling along the Elegant Corridor, sometimes running traffic lights with impunity.

According to Hare, his unit has been embarking on a number of initiatives to educate persons on accident prevention in western Jamaica, which includes St James.

“The road safety battle is won or lost in the west,” said Hare.

“We beg the people to work with the programme, but many of them are stubborn, and as my grandmother said, ‘Who cannot hear will feel’. Too much people a feel already, so nobody don’t need to feel again,” added Hare.