Metal on UBH may have caused fatal crash

A for­eign ob­ject ly­ing on the Uri­ah But­ler High­way may have caused the ac­ci­dent on Tues­day that re­sult­ed in the death of two women and not a de­fec­tive tyre as ini­tial­ly be­lieved.

This was yes­ter­day dis­closed to the Guardian Me­dia by a se­nior li­cens­ing of­fi­cer who re­ceived in­for­ma­tion di­rect­ly from the in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­lice of­fi­cer and the in­spec­tor as­signed to the Li­cens­ing Au­thor­i­ty (Trans­port Di­vi­sion) of the Min­istry of Works and Trans­port. Both of­fi­cers were on the scene of the fa­tal ac­ci­dent in Char­lieville on Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port, at about 9.45 am one of the tyres on a dump truck head­ing south blew out.

The truck then col­lid­ed with a Blue Wa­ters truck next to it that in turn slammed in­to a PTSC Deluxe Coach in the north­bound lane.

Two of the bus­es pas­sen­gers – Tara Ba­boolal, 66, of Debe and Judy Clarke, 61, of Diego Mar­tin, were killed in­stant­ly while 48 oth­er pas­sen­gers were in­jured and tak­en to hos­pi­tal.

The se­nior Li­cens­ing Of­fi­cer ex­plained that be­cause of the con­di­tion of the blown tyre it was hard to tell its pri­or con­di­tion. How­ev­er, he added that the in­spec­tor looked at the re­main­ing nine tyres on the truck and found them to be in good con­di­tion.

“The blown tyre would have dis­in­te­grat­ed on the road, shred­ding it, so it would be of no use, but what the in­spec­tor did was in­spect the oth­er nine tyres that would have giv­en him a fair in­di­ca­tion as to the con­di­tion of the one that blew,” the se­nior li­cens­ing of­fi­cer said.

“It was said that all the oth­er tyres seem to be in good con­di­tion. So to say neg­li­gence as the cause is not so, as it is with re­spect to the find­ings of the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions.”

Guardian Me­dia was told that one of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­lice of­fi­cers at the scene re­port­ed that he ob­served a piece of met­al on the road­way and be­lieved that it may have pen­e­trat­ed the truck’s tyre, caus­ing it to blow.

“Pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions al­so sug­gest that the piece of met­al that was re­cov­ered from the scene did not seem to have come from any one of the ve­hi­cles that was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent so its quite pos­si­ble that this may have caused the tyre to blow whilst not con­clu­sive but it is pos­si­ble,” the se­nior Li­cens­ing Of­fi­cer told Guardian Me­dia.

When con­tact­ed for com­ment yes­ter­day, act­ing Trans­port Com­mis­sion­er Bas­deo Go­sine said he was yet to re­ceive the in­spec­tor’s re­port on the ac­ci­dent.

Asked what mea­sures are in place to in­spect trucks and oth­er heavy ve­hi­cles that fre­quent­ly use the na­tion’s road­ways, Go­sine said the Li­cens­ing Of­fice has been car­ry­ing out spot checks over the past sev­er­al months.

“For quite a while we have been car­ry­ing out spot checks through­out T&T – San Fer­nan­do, Ca­roni, Rivulet Road in Cou­va just to name a few where big trucks are re­strict­ed to par­tic­u­lar routes.

They are giv­en a route pass which is a doc­u­ment that they get from the Trans­port Board telling them which roads in T&T that they are al­lowed to dri­ve on.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing.

Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat

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