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Bus crushes sisters to death

By Petulia Clarke, Staff Reporter

Traffic policemen stare at the mangled Suzuki Vitara jeep in which two young girls were crushed yesterday in Cross Roads, Kingston, on their way to school. - Rudolph Brown/Staff Photographer

TWO SISTERS on their way to school yesterday morning were crushed by a Jamaica Urban Transit Co. bus, while sitting in the rear seat of their father's sport utility vehicle in Cross Roads, St. Andrew.

Twelve-year-old Codeon Barton, a St. Hugh's High School first former, died while undergoing treatment at the Kingston Public Hospital.

The body of seven-year-old Terry-Ann Robinson who attended Mico Practising Primary School had to be cut from the jeep two hours after the accident.

Constable Gregory Ward of the Traffic section at the Cross Roads police station, told The Gleaner that the driver of the JUTC bus left the scene of the accident. However, the police said last night that the driver had made contact with them and is to give a statement on the accident by today.

Cons. Ward said about 6.45 a.m., the JUTC bus was heading south along Slipe Road, when on reaching the intersection of Slipe Road and Lewars Avenue it turned into the bus lay-by, colliding with the Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV, which was reversing from the terminus. The JUTC bus then hit a Hyundai car before coming to a stop at the side entrance to the Carib Cinema.

No one in the bus was injured. Terry-Ann's father, Terry Robinson, a Jamaica Defence Force soldier, was driving, with the girls' mother, Bridgette Wright, in the front seat. They were treated at hospital and released.

Yesterday, moods were sombre at Palmetto East, Passage Fort, Portmore, south east St. Catherine, where the family lived, and at St. Hugh's High School, Leinster road, near to Cross Roads.

Nerissa Watson, the girls' neighbour, said Codeon had just graduated from Bridgeport Primary and was an honour student.

"Cody brilliant in school," Ms. Watson said. "She bright bad bad and the littler one (Terry-Ann) always come to me and say 'Look what me write.' They were just

bright and have manners, I miss them so much."

St. Hugh's High school students, shocked by the news of their schoolmate's death, had individual counselling sessions with the guidance counsellor. A representative there said that the priest will be coming in to do group counselling. The sixth form students are also buying black ribbons to wear. The form teacher, who actually witnessed the accident but didn't realise then that one of her students was involved, couldn't be found yesterday.

"It was an unusual scene," Cons. Ward said. "It's the first I ever showed so much emotion."

He said that the father, who was supposed to show up to give a report to the station, had been told by the JDF doctors he had visited to go home and rest.

The JUTC issued a release yesterday expressing its condolences to the family for their loss. The bus driver was identified as 23-year-old Wasim Johnson. JUTC said that following the accident persons in a crowd that had gathered threatened the bus driver. They said that he left the scene and made contact with a Sgt. Lindo, the investigating officer.

Sterling Soares, president of the JUTC, said the accident and loss of life was regretted. He appealed to all road users, and JUTC drivers, in particular to exercise greater caution on the roads. He called on the JUTC road crews to practise the defensive driving skills they have been taught during training and refresher courses.

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