News

Mother and child hit by JUTC bus

Learner driver, female passenger also injured

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013    

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A pregnant woman and her 19-month-old child were yesterday hospitalised after they were hit down by an out-of-control Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus in downtown Kingston. The driver and a female passenger also received injuries.

Police reported that about 10:30 am, the driver of the State-owned bus was travelling in South Parade when the vehicle got out of control and slammed into a sidewalk, hitting the woman and her child, and causing panic among shoppers and other persons in the busy business district.

While some people were trying to get the police on their cellphones, a desperate attempt was made by vendors and other persons to rescue the mother and her child who were pinned under the vehicle.

Police and firefighters were, however, quick on the scene and the woman and her child were rushed to hospital where they were admitted in serious condition. The driver of the bus and a woman travelling in the vehicle, which had a learner driver sign affixed to the side, also received injuries and were taken to hospital for medical attention.

"I was selling along the roadside and all of a sudden me hear a loud explosion," said one vendor. The frightened vendor said that when she went to investigate she realised that the mother and child were hit when the bus plunged through metal rails and crashed into the sidewalk.

Sophia Banton, a 48-year-old employee of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, was among the persons who rushed to save the woman and her child after the crash.

"I was over the [St William Grant] Park doing some work when I heard the loud noise, looked up and realised that the bus crashed into the sidewalk," said Banton. She said that when she rushed to the crash scene she saw the woman and child under the front of the bus.

"... I don't know where I got the strength from, but mi just reacted," said Banton, who is also a mother. She was quickly joined by other persons who tried to free the victims.

"When mi look and see how the people dem come together and lift up a part of the bus to remove the woman and her baby I feel very proud," said another woman.

"Police are at this time still carrying out our investigation into this incident. One of the reports we received is that the driver swerved the vehicle to avoid hitting a homeless man who ran into the path of the vehicle," said Deputy Superintendent Lena McBean.

The JUTC is also investigating the incident.

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