News

Police still seeking killer bus driver

By COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter robinsonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 08, 2012    

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Investigators from the Police Traffic Headquarters said they are still searching for the driver of a coaster bus which ploughed into a crowd of people, killing 18-year-old Melissa Thompson, last month.

"We have not found him as yet. We know who he is, and by that I mean we have his name, alias and so on, but we have not picked him up as yet," Inspector Gary McKenzie of the Traffic department told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

"We have made contacts with persons in the bus business, people who would have known him. We got his address, which we visited several times. But it seems that he is not going to that address again. So we just have to keep searching," added McKenzie.

According to McKenzie, if caught, the driver could be face manslaughter among other charges. But the other charges, McKenzie said, are dependent on the driver's arrest, as well as statements from witnesses.

"A lot of it is dependent on the information that we get. That will tell us his manner of driving, whether he was speeding, or whether he had a driver's licence to operate the vehicle in the first place. It is really sad," said the lawman in expressing remorse over Thompson's death.

Yesterday, Thompson's mother, Marcia Coke, described a harrowing ordeal for the family since her daughter's death. Thompson was the second of her parents' three children, and wanted to become a registered nurse.

Thompson's father is taking her passing the hardest, Coke said.

"Oh Lord, he has been up and down and he is taking it really hard. I can't even explain," she said, noting that the family has been trying hard to scrape together her daughter's $200,000 funeral fee.

Thompson will be buried in Westmoreland on Saturday, following a funeral service at Heritage Baptist Church in St Catherine, Coke said

Coke complained that up to yesterday the owner of the bus had not offered the family any assistance with the funeral expenses.

"Nobody called and the funeral is supposed to be Saturday. We are no where in terms of planning yet, and the money has to go in by Thursday," said the mother, grief still evident in her voice.

Thompson, who earned seven Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) passes at the Jonathan Grant High School, and who was pursuing CAPE subjects at the Institute of Academic Excellence, was among three persons mowed down by the bus. The other persons received minor injuries and were treated at hospital, McKenzie said.

Melissa's death followed that of her cousin who was also mowed down while waiting at a bus stop on Old Harbour Road in St Catherine, in March last year.

According to investigators, the bus that hit Thompson was being driven by an unauthorised person. Its official driver and the conductor were also traveling in the vehicle at the time of the incident.

All three of them fled the scene, police said.

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