SASHA HARRINANAN and NALINEE SEELAL
SHOCK and disbelief were the reactions of residents of Pierre Street, Calvary Hill, Arima to the news their friendly neighbours, Daniel Pinto and his wife Evangeline Joseph, 32, had died in a car accident on Saturday afternoon.
Shortly after 6 pm on Saturday, Joseph, said to be 60 but whose age police gave as 51, was driving on the Arima Blanchisseuse Road, Blanchisseuse, headed to Blanchisseuse – where he used to live and where some family members still reside – when he reportedly lost control of the car.
The car plunged 250 feet down a precipice. Pinto and Joseph – who was seated in the front passenger seat – reportedly died on impact while Pinto’s nephew, 17-year-old Quincy Pinto, who was seated in the back, survived.
According to reports, an eyewitness called the police and fire services. Using ropes, they rappelled down the precipice where they found Pinto and Joseph dead. Quincy, however, could be heard crying out in pain. The rescuers used ropes to pull him up to the roadside, where a waiting ambulance took him to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
They then brought up Pinto and Joseph’s bodies to the roadside.
When Newsday visited the family’s home yesterday afternoon, their fellow tenant – a young woman who asked not to be identified – was in shock, having only a few moments before learned of their deaths.
“They started renting here two months ago. He (Pinto) was such a nice man. They were both nice people. Very quiet. Papa (Pinto) would sit down in the gallery all day. He would smile and say, ‘I tired, you know. I just want to relax now.’ I was under the impression he was a retiree.”
"Their dog – I don't know his name, I call him Doggie – I really heard him howling, howling last night and again this morning because they hadn't come home. I found it strange because they don't usually stay out so long but I never imagined this..."
Pausing to wipe away her tears, the young woman told Newsday she gave Doggie some of her dog's chow Sunday afternoon but as of 5 pm, he hadn't eaten anything.
The shock of it all seemed to hit her anew, as she blurted out, "Oh wow! The two of them one time," before falling silent again for a while.
Expressing bewilderment about how the accident occurred, the woman said, "I don't know him to have any illnesses. The wife had asthma but she didn't drive. I can't imagine how they ended up going over that precipice because the road narrow, so people take their time when they driving there."
Recalling how Pinto loved to interact with his neighbours, the woman smiled as she shared, "This is a quiet street but he didn't care. Pap would say, 'Hi, how you going?' He was such a nice man."