Deadly ‘West Side’ crash: Families devastated, call for justice
By Isanella Patoir
Three families are struggling to come to grips with the gruesome deaths of their relatives who died on Monday night when a speeding driver ploughed into them at the Sharmila Harrykissoon Sports Bar at De Willem, on the West Coast of Demerara.
Relatives are calling for justice while the owners of the bar are estimating millions of dollars in losses. The car was being driven by a 19-year-old Matthew David Aaron Ambedkar who was reportedly racing on the road.
He remains under police guard at the West Demerara Regional Hospital. Police Headquarters clarified that no alcohol was detected in his breath after a breathalyser test was conducted.
Sharmila Persaud operates the bar with her husband; she, said the accident occurred just before closing time on Monday night.
Moments before the tragedy, her husband, Murthy Toolsie was sitting with the two fishermen who were killed. Persaud explained that she called her husband inside to assist her with preparing dinner and that is when they heard a loud bang.
Her husband grabbed her and their 12-year-old son and shielded them because he thought the house was crumbling.
“When we come out, we saw the damages and saw the vehicle and what happened,” Persaud told the News Room.
Then, they also learned that two persons had died and Persaud said she was heartbroken when she found out that her employee – Carlito Gobinlall – was among the fatalities.
Gobinlall, a Venezuelan national, was flung several feet away and landed in front of a nearby pharmacy. He was deaf and could not speak and has been employed at the bar since he migrated to Guyana four years ago.
“We decided to check around and we found the third person in the snackette,” Persaud said. This was 44-year-old Ayube Mohammed, a fisherman known as ‘Quarter’ of Meten-Meer-Zorg, WCD; he was found under the debris.
Another fisherman, Kiram Rampersaud, 41, called ‘Rocky’ of Zeeburg, ended up in a drain and suffered severe injuries to his limbs and other parts of the body.
Meanwhile, Persaud said she also operated a snackette which suffered extensive damage; appliances along with groceries were all destroyed.
“Forget about the bar side, even the snakcette damage where I would sell food daily,” Persaud said.
A parked SUV (PYY 9456) belonging to 37-year-old Iaz Fizool, a long-time customer of the bar, was also damaged during the accident.
Two other persons were injured – Wazim Mohammed, an electrician of De Kinderen and 33-year-old Chandrika Veerasammy of De Willem.
FAMILIES WANT JUSTICE
Shanta Singh lost her husband, Mohammed who was the sole breadwinner for her family.
“Yesterday was my grandson birthday and he said he going to take a drink at the shop and I said okay,” Singh told the News Room. That was the last time she saw her husband – a man she has been married to for 23 years and the father to their only child together.
Singh explained that she was sleeping when neighbours woke her up with the tragic news.
Mohammed and Rampersaud are distant relatives. Rampersaud was also at the birthday celebration on Monday; the two men later decided to visit the bar.
“Them come for the birthday, they eat and after they said they going and hang out.
“I don’t know what happened but they said two car [was racing] and one loose control, hit a car [then] hit in the snackette,” Beesham Kamprashad, Rampersaud’s brother told the News Room.
Beesham said a concrete block was left stuck in Rampersaud’s neck.
Meanwhile, Gobinlall’s relatives are pleading for justice to be served. He was the second of four children.
“I heard he was sitting down eating a hotdog, and this car come and hit him and pelt him straight into the pharmacy and that is where he left,” Imran Alli, Gobinlall’s father said.
The father said his son suffered several broken bones and severe head injuries.
“Me nah lie, it hurt me a lot, I am going far for this story,” the grieving man said.
The accident occurred just before 22:00hrs.
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn later showed up at the scene and expressed his sympathy to the grieving families.