Lilliput turns to blood

Four road deaths of residents drive anxiety into St James community

Staff reporter

Sunday, March 11, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Following the death of two residents of the St James community of Lilliput just outside of this city, the people of the area have been thrown into a state of bloody confusion.

Two residents died in a four-vehicle collision along a section of the North Coast Highway on Thursday. Yesterday morning, it was more blood, sweat and tears with the demise of two more — smashed up badly in another motor vehicle collision near the roundabout of Donald Sangster International Airport.

Two other community members, one of whom was the driver of the vehicle involved in yesterday's accident, were struggling to stay alive in the nearby Cornwall Regional Hospital up to late yesterday evening.

Those dead yesterday, according to the police, are 35-year-old hotel worker Sheldon Hylton and Odane Smith, both of Bamboo Drive in Lilliput.

“Lilliput under crosses,” one resident of the St James East Central community being represented in the Jamaican Parliament by Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett, stated.

“Some a we a wonder who going to be next. Me a hope say the blood can stop and no more people from up here no dead like that inna car crash. We just can't tek anymore deaths by any means,” the community resident who called the Jamaica Observer yesterday stated.

The police said that around 6:15 am, four members of the Lilliput community were travelling in a rented Nissan Tiida motor car along the Queen's Drive section of the North Coast Highway when, upon reaching the vicinity of the Sangster International Airport roundabout, the driver lost control of the vehicle which ran off the road.

According to one person who said that he was an eyewitness, the accident might have resulted from the driver swerving to avoid the silt washed down into the road, following Friday evening's heavy downpour in the city.

The eyewitness told the Sunday Observer that the speeding vehicle ran across the road and flattened a sign post before ripping through the thick concrete “Welcome to Montego Bay” sign, punching out some of its letters in the process.

The car, which reportedly went airborne, flipped several times before dropping across the section of the roundabout from which traffic leaving the airport and heading down town Montego Bay flows.

Upon visiting Cornwall Regional Hospital yesterday, the Sunday Observer team was greeted by sombre-looking Lilliput residents who were visiting the two community members hospitalised.

They spoke glowingly of the four male community members, but were especially saddened by the passing of Smith and Hylton, who they described as “good men”.

“Them don't give any trouble. All of us are sad,” one woman who spoke to the Sunday Observer said.

She, however, advised drivers to cease speeding and appealed to the local authorities to promptly remove silt from the roadway following heavy rainfall the day before.

Lilliput is one of the rapidly growing communities in St James with a mixed history of irregular conduct by some of those who live there, and honest, decent behaviour by others. Years ago, squatting and the capturing of land by some crept on the list of challenges the authorities tried to fix in a community that has had high rates of unemployment.

On Thursday, Kevin Mills and Shadrick Robinson, both of Lilliput addresses, died as a result of injuries they sustained in an accident involving four motor vehicles, a short distance from the scene of yesterday's accident.

Police reported that two vehicles were travelling in the same direction along the Rose Hall main road when, upon reaching the vicinity of Half Moon Hotel, one of the vehicles collided in the back of the other.

Both vehicles, one of which was occupied by Mills and Robinson, ran across the median to the other side of the road and into the path of two other motor cars travelling in the opposite direction.

Before crossing the lane, the motor car in which Mills and Robinson were travelling mowed down a utility pole.

Both Mills, who had to be cut out the vehicle, and Robinson, who was thrown out onto the road, sustained multiple injuries and died on the spot.

The four Lilliput casualties have pushed the national road fatalities since the beginning of the year to 64.

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