Sun | Oct 20, 2019

Rio Grande Tragedy, 10 years later | Accident survivor rues lack of assistance

Published:Friday | December 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Linford Jackson disappointed in the lack of support for survivors.

Whenever the story of the December 19, 2008, crash, which left 14 persons dead in the Rio Grande Valley, Portland, is being told, the name Linford Jackson is usually mentioned.

Jackson survived the accident, but his heart-wrenching plea for someone to amputate his trapped foot at the scene is recounted over and over every time the story is told.

He was trapped for more than five hours under the truck, with his left leg and left arm badly fractured.

"Me did in a shock. Me hold on to the truck when it was going over, and me bawl out. The back end of the truck was on my leg. It was very painful. Me feel like me did a go dead. But when the nurse came and give me an injection me, did feel much better," Jackson told The Gleaner during an interview to mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy on Wednesday.

That nurse was Rackell Wilson, who gave him a Voltaren injection. She later had her licence suspended for six months because of her decision to administer the injection. Recent efforts to contact Wilson have been unsuccessful.

Jackson did not lose his leg, but 10 years on, while he does some farming, he is not able to move around as much as he would like to.

According to Jackson, it was recommended that he do physiotherapy to ensure that he recovered full use of his leg, but that was too expensive.

"Me never have any money to do it. Each time me go, a $2,000 me have to pay. Now, like when the time cold, me feel pain ina me foot and me hand," said Jackson.

He told The Gleaner that his family and people in his Comfort Castle community assist him financially when they can, but that that is not enough.

"Me can't work fi help myself. Me woulda take little help. Anything to help me buy little food, and thing. Sometimes when the hard life take me, me member the accident," said Jackson.

"Me did hope say we would get something from the insurance, but the insurance say them no business wid we. When we take it up to sue the owner, the lawyer say it passed the time already," added Jackson, who, like other survivors, is sure that his life would be better today if he had not been involved in the tragedy.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com