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Manchester fire chief wants speed traps at crash hotspots

Published:Saturday | May 14, 2022 | 12:09 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Deputy Superintendent Rohan Powell of the Manchester Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade believes that installing speed traps along accident-prone roadways in the parish could help to reduce cases of reckless driving and major accidents.

He made the call for the devices and other accident-mitigation measures on the heels of the tragic death of 22-year-old Torian Elliott, who lost her life in an accident on Sunday.

Reports are that Elliott, her boyfriend, and another person were travelling in a Toyota Crown motor car along the Winston Jones Highway about 7:30 p.m., when they were hit by another vehicle that did not stop.

The driver of the Toyota Crown reportedly lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into an embankment.

The police are still searching for the second driver.

Powell told The Gleaner earlier this week that it took firefighters some 30 minutes to rescue Elliott, as part of the metal rail along the embankment went straight through the vehicle and pinned her down.

She was subsequently transported to the Mandeville Regional Hospital, along with the other occupants, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Noting the difficulty often faced to transport accident victims, with the hospital only serviced by two ambulances, Powell is hoping the Mandeville Fire Station can soon be equipped its own ambulance.

“ ... We have direct contact with hospital to provide us with ambulance services, but they are always out, so when the need arises, we are seriously challenged in moving persons. When we package persons, sometimes we have to be waiting, hoping that someone with pick-up or space cabs come along,” he said.

“ ... It was just pure carelessness why this young lady lost her life and I think some attention needs to be placed on these young men that are purchasing these very fast cars [such as ] the Crowns, the Axios and the Mark Xs. Any time they crash, the end result is never pretty,” Powell said while addressing the Manchester Municipal Corporation meeting on Thursday.

Elliott, who was five months pregnant, would have graduated from the Knox Community College in October with a Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education.

“If we continue to have our young people losing their lives under these conditions, our country is not going to go anywhere fast. As stakeholders, we all need to come on board to see what we can come up with to help mitigate some of these things,” said the deputy superintendent.

He named some of the major crash hotspots in the parish as the Winston Jones Highway, as well as the Spur Tree, Penn Hill, Gutters and Scott’s Pass main roads.

Following traffic changes made along the Melrose Bypass recently to advance works on Highway 2000,commanding officer of the Manchester Police Superintendent Lloyd Darby has reminded road users to abide by the rules.

For the next seven months, eastbound travellers from Mandeville are expected to use the old Melrose road, while the Melrose Bypass will only facilitate those travelling into Mandeville.

Darby cautioned motorists, who are known to speed along the new route, to be mindful of the other road users.