Another fatal road traffic accident on Saturday has pushed the death toll to 117 for 2019 – three more than last year’s figure for the comparative period.
On December 19, four friends – including 27-year-old national footballer Shahdon Winchester, were returning from a lime in Couva when Winchester lost control of the car and slammed into a lightpole on the Solomon Hochoy Highway near Gasparillo. The car burst into flames and the occupants were burnt beyond recognition.
The others who died are Djenne Hills-Dyer, 28, Keston Nicholas, 22, and Michael Bradshaw, 21.
The latest victim is 32-year-old Kevin Barry Persad of Persad Street, St Lucien Road, Diego Martin. Persad was driving his car on St Lucien Road at around 8.30 pm when he lost control and slammed into a culvert. The car went airborne and burst into flames when it landed on the road.
Passers-by saw the accident and called an ambulance and the police. While Persad was being pulled from the car, he appeared to be unconscious with an injury to his head.
The district medical officer went to the scene, declared Persad dead and ordered the body be taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital mortuary.
ASP Ramesar and Sgt Theophilus were on the scene with officers from West End police station.
Newsday met Persad’s father, Anthony Persad, at the West End police station on Sunday morning. He advised drivers, if they are going to lime and have alcohol to designate a responsible driver. He said Persad was the second of his four children.
Anthony said his son was a very quiet and humble person who was looking forward to the new year and was expecting a promotion at the construction company where he worked.
“He may have gone out and was coming back home because he normally is at home most of the time. We are all very close and his brothers are not doing so well with the tragedy. It is a terrible loss for all of us.
“I am lost for words. Right now I am the only one holding up to put things in place. There is not much more I can say.
“I woke up this morning asking where could he have gone already, only to realise I had to come here (police station) this morning to get his stuff from the remains of the car.”
Anthony said he normally stays up at nights until all his children are home.
Arrive Alive president, Sharon Inglefield, called on the police to have more road blocks and speed traps on the nation's roadways.
“Condolences to the family and friends of the most recent road fatality with the 32-year-old young man. We really need a constant patrol on our nation’s roads to ensure that no more lives are lost and families can be kept together going into the new year.
“We have had an increase in RTA's (road traffic accidents) which is extremely unfortunate because we were going so well for the last ten years, and the increase this year is very alarming.”
Inglefield urged drivers to be diligent in designating a driver or hiring a taxi.
She said it is important for people to plan ahead, especially at this time of year and going into the Carnival season when there are a lot of parties coming up.
“We all want to get home to our families safely. We all would want to balance our lives with some entertainment as well as work. We need to make sure we plan ahead and we know what our movements are so that we can get to the party and reach home safely the next day.
“Please let’s plan ahead. Let’s designate a sober driver and let us really adapt our speed to the road. Not because our speed limit is at 100 or 80 km mean we should push to that speed.”
Inglefield said drivers should pay more attention on the roads because many (roads) are unsafe without guardrails, barriers and proper lighting.