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2 babies, parents killed

By RHONDOR DOWLAT Tuesday, December 9 2008

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IN WHAT can only be described as a tragedy, Justin Ramtahal, 23-months-old, his parents Casey Ramtahal, 26, and Roxanne Maraj, 18, and Justin’s four-month-old cousin Akela Maraj, all lost their lives in a horrific accident at the intersection of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway leading to UWI, on Sunday night.

Akela’s mother, Malinda Maraj, who is also Roxanne’s sister, is reportedly fighting for her life and up to late yesterday remained warded at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mount Hope.

The other survivors which involved a white Toyota Corolla and a green Audi, were identified as Michael Poonwasie, one-year-old Joshua Lazarus, his father Jermaine Lazarus, Jermaine’s wife Theresa Butcher and Patricia Narcis.

According to a police report, at about 11 pm, both vehicles collided at the intersection leading to the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus. The Corolla, which was driven by Ramtahal, split in two on impact, while the Audi, driven by Lazarus had its engine smashed in. Ramtahal lived at Bangladesh in St Joseph, with his family.

The only two occupants of the Corolla who survived the crash, police said, were Maraj and Poonwasie. Investigators up to late yesterday, were unable to determine who was at fault in the accident but said one of the cars involved had to have been speeding to try and make the lights before it turned red.

An investigating officer told Newsday that they were working on several theories, one of which was that Ramtahal drove the Corolla west along the highway, broke the traffic light and collided head-on into the Audi.

Another theory was that Ramtahal may have been proceeding along the highway from an easterly direction when he attempted to make an illegal u-turn but instead slammed into the Audi.

Roxanne and Malinda’s aunt, Joanne Rambally, yesterday said the family was shocked over the incident. She described Ramtahal and Roxanne as a couple who loved each other and their only son, Justin.

“Anywhere you saw Casey, you saw Roxanne. They were always together and the son was always with them. The little boy loved his father like I don’t know what. He will quicker stay with the father than the mother,” Rambally said.

She also described Malinda as a hardworking person and said she was hoping and praying that Malinda survives. “Malinda has two children, well her baby died in the accident, now she has one who is just 22-months-old and whose name is Alicia.”

“God alone know what we are going through and what happened in that accident. We are hoping that Malinda survives. We are praying to God that she makes it just for the sake of Alicia,” Rambally added.

Roxanne’s sister, Shelly-Ann, said that Ramtahal worked as a truck-driver but left his job at Burmudez to work with her father, Mohan Maraj, who is in the construction industry.

When asked what plans her sister and her husband had in store for Christmas, she said: “Well she used to live on Frederick Street in Curepe and moved over here in Bangladesh recently. She and Casey were together about three years. Justin was their only child and they lived for each other. Casey promised that when he got paid on Friday he would go and buy everything they needed for Christmas. Roxanne was just so nice. They will be missed so dearly.”

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