Husband loses wife of 49 years in UBH crash: "She can’t be gone"

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 06:45

Un­will­ing to be­lieve the love of his life had died in a hor­ri­fy­ing ac­ci­dent along the Uri­ah But­ler High­way in Char­lieville, Ch­agua­nas, yes­ter­day, 69-year-old Ram­di­al Ba­boolal drove from Debe to the Er­ic Williams Med­ical Sci­ences Com­plex (EWM­SC) in Mt Hope hop­ing me­dia re­ports had been wrong.

His wife, Tara Ba­boolal, 66, was among two women who died im­me­di­ate­ly when a Blue Wa­ters truck crossed the me­di­an from the south­bound lane of the high­way and slammed in­to the PTSC Deluxe Coach they were trav­el­ling in­to Port-of-Spain along the north­bound lane. The sec­ond de­ceased woman was iden­ti­fied Judy Clarke, 61, of Sier­ra Leone, Diego Mar­tin.

Po­lice said a tyre blowout caused a dump truck in the south­bound lane to crash in­to the Blue Wa­ters truck be­fore it crossed the me­di­an and hit the bus in the south­bound lane. Tara was de­cap­i­tat­ed in the crash while po­lice say a piece of met­al pierced Clarke’s chest.

The ac­ci­dent, which hap­pened around 9.45 am, brought traf­fic on both sides of the high­way to a com­plete stop for over two hours as emer­gency first re­spon­ders rushed to the scene to deal with sev­er­al oth­ers who were in­jured in the ac­ci­dent. Bleed­ing, weep­ing pas­sen­gers were sent to the EWM­SC and the Ch­agua­nas Health Fa­cil­i­ty for emer­gency care. In to­tal, 48 peo­ple were hos­pi­talised, with sev­en of them re­quir­ing life-sav­ing surgery.

News of the women’s deaths was re­port­ed on mid­day news­casts on tele­vi­sion and ra­dio and af­ter hear­ing his wife’s name, Ba­boolal left home telling rel­a­tives the in­for­ma­tion had to be wrong.

When he got to the Ac­ci­dent and Emer­gency de­part­ment of the EWM­SC around 2.30 pm, he met a Guardian Me­dia team who asked him if he was there to see any of the vic­tims from the PTSC crash.

“My wife was on the bus,” he said.

Asked what was her con­di­tion, Ba­boolal replied, “I hear the ra­dio said she passed away but no­body tell me any­thing, so I came to see if she ward­ed here.”

Ac­com­pa­nied by his son-in-law and broth­er-in-law Jairam Bali­ram, Ba­boolal said he would sit in the wait­ing area un­til hos­pi­tal staff could tell him if his wife was re­ceiv­ing treat­ment.

Guardian Me­dia jour­nal­ists then no­ticed two po­lice of­fi­cers from the ac­ci­dent scene and alert­ed them that Ba­boolal was seek­ing in­for­ma­tion about his wife.

Sev­er­al min­utes lat­er, PC Vil­lafana of the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion con­firmed Ba­boolal’s worst fear and he stood silent­ly as Bali­ram asked ques­tions about an au­top­sy.

Speak­ing a few min­utes af­ter, Ba­boolal could not con­tain his grief. He said he and Tara had been mar­ried since 1970.

“I was 21 and she was 18, she was the love of my life,” he said be­fore break­ing down in tears.

The cou­ple has four chil­dren to­geth­er and sev­en grand­chil­dren.

Ba­boolal last saw her when he dropped her in Debe around 7 am to get a taxi to head to San Fer­nan­do where she board­ed the bus.

“She would al­ways say ‘See you lat­er’ I can’t be­lieve she’s gone,” a tear­ful Ba­boolal said.

At the fam­i­ly’s Ra­mai Trace, Debe home yes­ter­day, grand­daugh­ter Ri­an­na Ba­boolal said Tara left home around 7 am to go to the Land Set­tle­ment Agency. She pre­pared sand­wich­es of bread and egg for the trip and was ex­pect­ed to take the 8 am Deluxe Coach to Port-of-Spain. Be­ing a pen­sion­er, the bus ride was free.

Ri­an­na said Tara took care of her as a child and treat­ed her with love.

“She loved to quar­rel but not in a bad way. She loved us and al­ways want­ed things to be in place. She was very or­gan­ised,” Ri­an­na re­called with tears in her eyes.

When they heard of the bus crash on the mid­day news, Ri­an­na said they got wor­ried as Tara was not an­swer­ing her phone.

“We called 103FM and spoke to some­one. They put us on to an­oth­er per­son who was on the scene. They said they will check on it for us. Af­ter­wards, they told us that Tara Ba­boolal had died in the crash,” Ri­an­na said.

Wip­ing away tears, Ri­an­na said her grand­fa­ther Ram­di­al was sit­ting on a chair when they got con­fir­ma­tion of the death. She con­firmed he left for the hos­pi­tal un­will­ing to be­lieve his wife of 49 years had died.

Tara’s fa­ther Am­rood Bone, 88, said he was shocked at his daugh­ter’s pass­ing.

“She was my el­dest child. I have ten chil­dren, four boys and six girls,” he added.

Mean­while, Ki­maa­da Clarke, the el­dest child of Judy Clarke, told Guardian Me­dia her moth­er was a woman of God.

Ki­maa­da, who lives at Sime­on Road, Diego Mar­tin with her moth­er and broth­ers, was too dis­traught to give fur­ther de­tails when she was con­tact­ed via phone.

“I can’t think straight right now. I still don’t re­al­ly know what hap­pened,” Ki­maa­da said.

Reporters: Sharlene Rampersad & Radhica De Silva