River road tragedy
Woman dead after bus plunges into Rio Cobre in nasty Bog Walk Gorge collisionWednesday, June 09, 2021
A mere four days after 49-year-old Ava Thelwell drove her car off Flat Bridge into the Rio Cobre and drowned, another woman died in the waterway yesterday after the passenger bus in which she was travelling crashed with a motor car in the treacherous Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine.
The crash, which resulted in a traffic snarl, occurred close to the centuries-old barrier-less Flat Bridge which spans the Rio Cobre and where many lives have been lost over the years.
The force of the collision pushed the Toyota Hiace bus off the road into the river from which local divers pulled nine people, including the dead woman, who police identified as 59-year-old Valerie Ennis.
Four people were removed from the car, a Toyota Fielder.
All 13 were taken to Linstead Hospital.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Kerry-Ann Bailey said the crash occurred about 9:30 am. The car was heading to Spanish Town while the bus was travelling in the opposite direction towards Bog Walk.
Bailey said the police and emergency medical technicians responded quickly. After the injured people had been taken to hospital, the bus was pulled from the river and wreckers used to remove both vehicles from the scene.
A resident of Kent Village, the small community in the gorge, said two divers searched the river to see if more people had been victims.
“A we eva a save people. We always try reach pon the scene fi assist. We need something to be done about this river,” he said without giving his name.
Another man said he assisted in removing the bus from the river, which took about 30 minutes.
“Well, mi never 'round here when it happen ennu, but when mi come, I see the lady laying down and the bus in the water. At that time, wi a wonder how much people did in the bus,” he explained.
At the hospital, the cousin of one of the passengers in the car appeared disoriented as he stood outside awaiting news about his relative.
“I don't know what took place. I just came here to find out. I just got a call saying I must come by the hospital… I just cyaan manage,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
A woman, who said she had been a passenger in the car, was limping and holding her side as she left the hospital.
“Mi just remember seh the car lick up in the bus,” was all she would say.
The bus driver, who had cuts on his face and arms, and was barefooted, declined to speak with the Observer, saying he was “not in the frame of mind to talk”.
Last Friday, police reported that Thelwell, the mother of two adult children and who lived in Kingston, was seen lingering near Flat Bridge from about 10:00 am. The cops said that about 2:00 pm she allegedly drove to the middle of the bridge, stopped, and then drove her Suzuki Grand Vitara into the river.
She was pulled from the water by divers and taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
— Brittny Hutchinson
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