Deadly Agricola crash: Driver says was not reckless, was forced off road by taxi

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Danion Leary Welcome, the driver of the truck that killed 7-year-old Ciara Benjamin on the Agricola Public Road, East Bank Demerara Saturday, is seeking to clear his name in the horrific incident that has plunged many in despair.

Welcome, through his lawyer, James Bond said that he was not “negligent, careless or reckless” when the child met her demise, noting that he was proceeding 20kmp when he was forced to crash into the median by a taxi driver.

“My client was completely unaware that Ciara was on the median. SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE. This is a highway and no adult should have a child perched on a median in the middle of a busy highway. This was approximately 30 feet from the pedestrian crossing.

“Investigations thus far have revealed no skid marks, the truck did not careen into the eastern lanes of the highway neither did it smash into the light poles a mere five feet away. It practically bumped on to the median and rested there. Again unfortunately little Ciara was on the said median,” Bond stated in a Facebook post Sunday night.

Dead: Ciara Benjamin

He added, “In other countries the accompanying adult may have been charged with reckless endangerment but such will not be the case here.”

Following the accident, Welcome was severely beaten by residents with an iron pipe and according to his lawyer, he suffered a fractured skull, severe contusions to the arms, back and neck along with gaping wounds to the scalp.

Bond told the News Room during a telephone interview Sunday night that his client was taken to the hospital where he was treated and discharged. He told the News Room that the child was actually standing on top the median.

“He is now shackled sleeping on the cold concrete in a cell at the Golden Grove Police Station,” Bond said in his social media post.

Gruesome photos of the child show her body pinned under the front of the truck as it rests on the median. [News Room photo]
Welcome’s sand truck was subsequently torched at the scene of the accident after the child’s remains were removed; reports indicate the fire was an act of arson but it is unclear whether anyone was arrested.

Meanwhile, Bond noted that his client is the father of three girls, with the youngest being 5 years old.

“My client is distraught and grief stricken at the death of Ciara Benjamin. He had just dropped off his little girl and the image of Ciara haunts him. He sends his heartfelt condolences to her parents and extended family.

It was sometime after 4pm when the truck crashed into Benjamin who attempted to cross the road with her babysitter Simone Barry.

The little girl of Kitty, Georgetown, was pinned under the truck on top of the road’s median; she died instantly and her body was cut in two.

The babysitter was in shock and was observed screaming and crying at the scene of the horrendous accident as she tried desperately to remove the child’s mangled body.

Barry fainted several times at the gruesome scene. She, however, spoke to reporters briefly about what transpired but said she could not remember much.

“I was crossing the road, I hold my niece hand tight and after I hold her crossing the road…I get pitch and I get blackout, I don’t know what happened.”

 

EDITOR’S  NOTE: This story initially stated that Simone Barry was the child’s aunt, when in fact Barry is her baby sitter. The News Room apologises for the error.

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