News

4 visitors die in car crash

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 01, 2011    

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BRACO, Trelawny — Four foreign nationals were killed yesterday while four other people — including three UK residents — last night remained in hospital following a terrible motor vehicle accident involving a minibus and a pickup along the Braco main road here in Trelawny.

Police identified the dead as Kathleen Rawlinson, 45, of a UK address; Talia Jones, a Canadian living in the UK; 17-year-old Caisie Mulla and the driver of the minibus, 49-year-old Gary Banford, also of the United Kingdom.

Those admitted in hospital in serious condition have been listed as Josie Branford, 25; Owen Mulla, 15; and Luke Evans — all of UK addresses, and Bryan Clarke, 36, of Silver Sands in Trelawny.

Police say about 12:30 am, Branford was driving a white Mitsubishi minibus along the Braco main road towards Rio Bueno when it collided with a Ford Ranger pickup travelling in the opposite direction.

"Upon reaching the vicinity of Braco Farms Limited, the Mitsubishi bus which was transporting seven foreign nationals swerved to the right of the road into the path of a Ford Ranger and collided, causing severe damage to both vehicles," the police said.

The Ford Ranger, the police said, was being driven by Clarke, who is company director of Worthy Park Estate in St Catherine.

Rawlinson reportedly died on the spot, while the three others who died in the crash were pronounced dead on arrival at the Falmouth Hospital.

Yesterday afternoon, pieces of metal, broken glass and other debris bore testimony to the accident.

At the Rio Bueno Police Station, just over a mile from where the accident occurred, firefighters were seen combing the mangled minibus for personal items belonging to the occupants of the ill-fated bus.

"It is really a terrible accident. There is blood and human flesh splattered all over the bus," one of the firefighters told the Observer, as he removed body parts from the ill-fated vehicle.

The other vehicle, the Observer was told, was also badly damaged.

Houston Tatham, a resident of the sparsely populated community of Braco, told the Observer yesterday that he was among several persons who rushed to the scene of the accident minutes after it occurred in the wee hours of the morning.

"Out there (scene of accident) was terrible," said Tatham. "I saw a dead woman lying on the ground; I heard screams for help and saw blood all over the place. Several persons who came out there just could not deal with the situation," he recalled.

He said, however, that several motorists who later arrived on the scene, as well as residents, assisted the occupants, some of whom were trapped, to get out of the vehicles.

Last night, Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett expressed regret at the accident and appealed to motorists to be take extra care as they traverse the roadway, particularly during the holiday.

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