Despite an autopsy report showing cause of death as drowning, grieving families of three young men from Debe, who were pulled out of a crashed car from a river bed at Rahamut Trace in Woodland on Sunday afternoon, remain baffled as to how they ended up in the shallow water and why they didn’t try to escape since all the windows of the car were down.
Sunil Sookdeo, 18, a barber of Gandhi Village, Levi Seegobin, 21, a graphic artist of Ramai Trace and Nicholas Manoo, 22, a construction worker of SS Erin Road Debe, were pulled from the river by firemen. It is unclear how long the car remained overturned in the area mostly used by farmers.
Relatives of the victims could not say what time they left home on Saturday night to go on a lime.
At Sookdeo’s home, his mother Shanta Sookdeo, a mother of three, said her first-born child and only son left home to go to the nearby Hindu temple in Gandhi Village earlier on Saturday evening. She said he returned and went to bed but sometime later that night was picked up by Seegobin and Manoo.
She said she was asleep and only realised he was not at home when she awoke on Sunday morning to prepare a meal for her husband to go to work. She called his cellphone but got no response.
At Seegobin’s home, his grandmother Indranie Seegobin, who raised him, was too distraught to speak. His uncle Brian described him as talented and popular.
He said family members remain confused as to how the trip ended up at Rahamut Trace in Woodland since it is a lonely area used by farmers.
He said what was even more puzzling was the fact that the windows of the car were down.
“How come three young, strong, men made no attempt to get out off the car which had overturned in such shallow waters?”
At Manoo’s home, his 81-year-old grandmother with whom he lived was inconsolable. She recalled that on Saturday he asked her to make his favourite dish - sada roti and fried aloo (potato) which she happily did.
She cried that her house felt empty without him and consoled herself that she has his six-year-old son Jayden with her. A relative said the three left a nearby bar at about 12.30pm on Saturday night. Manoo was the driver.
Shortly after 1pm on Sunday, a farmer called San Fernando police to report that he saw an overturned car in a river at Rahamut Trace.
Police and officers from the Mon Repos Fire Station responded and saw the black Peugeot car lying overturned in the river with the wheels up.
They took at least three hours to retrieve the vehicle and pull the bodies from the wreckage. The post mortem also revealed the bodies were in the water for a long time.
On October 6, friends Alex Lalla, Romel Rambally and Kareem Simon were killed after a birthday lime in Port-of-Spain when their car crashed into a concrete pillar at the Munroe Road Flyover in Charlieville.