By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
A “HORRIFIC stretch” is how Superintendent Mareno Hinds yesterday described the recent spate of traffic fatalities occurring across the nation, culminating in Sunday night’s tragic death of a woman in Fresh Creek, Andros.
The woman was killed after her vehicle was involved in a collision and subsequently burst into flames.
The victim, who police identified as a Caucasian woman, was not believed to be Bahamian.
This occurred roughly two days after a male pedestrian in San Salvador was killed after being struck by a car. The Tribune understands this victim to be 54-year-old John Alphonso Ferguson, a resident of North Victoria Hill, San Salvador.
There were also two devastating, non-fatal collisions in New Providence on Saturday and Sunday, which followed the death of a 25-year-old man on the island on Thursday after his vehicle collided with a utility pole on JFK Drive.
In a statement released yesterday, opposition spokesperson on transport, Glenys Hanna-Martin described the uptick in serious traffic accidents as a “matter of national concern” and urged Minister of Transport Renward Wells to bring into effect the provisions of the Road Traffic Bill.
“Police on the island of Andros are investigating a traffic accident that occurred on Sunday, April 14, 2019 which left an adult female dead,” the Royal Bahamas Police Force said yesterday in a statement.
“According to reports, shortly before 6pm, a Caucasian female was driving a dark coloured SUV, on Summer Set Beach Road, Queens Highway, Fresh Creek, when she lost control of the vehicle which ran off road, bursting into flames. The female succumbed to her injuries on the scene.”
Central Andros Administrator Glenn Lightbourn told The Tribune yesterday the victim has yet to be positively identified but confirmed she was the sole occupant of the vehicle.
“We were able to extinguish the fire with the assistance of the fire unit at the AUTEC base,” he added.
The victim’s husband is said to be a foreign contractor.
Officer-In-Charge of San Salvador and Rum Cay Superintendent Kenrid Neely yesterday provided The Tribune with more details about the San Salvador traffic fatality.
When asked if the pedestrian was a victim of a hit-and-run, Supt Neely replied: “No…as a matter of fact, the (driver) was the person who contacted us. He stayed on the scene.”
He also said he does not think speed was a factor in the incident.
“The area where the accident occurred is a dark area, no street lights are on that road,” he said. “There’s some reflectors in the road but there was no street lights in that area. So, it was extremely dark. I think that’s really what contributed to the accident. I don’t think it was speed.”
Supt Neely said while he “definitely” thinks more lights are needed, he was told the area doesn’t have any lights because of its proximity to the airport.
When asked if police plan to boost road safety campaigns in the wake of these recent incidents, Supt Hinds told The Tribune: “The irony is we have had that in place from the year began.
“It’s just that this is a very, very horrific stretch. And it happens from time to time. But you know we’re not (going to) add any knee-jerk reactions to what we’ve already been doing. We have been doing that, it’s just that it’s not been talked about. It only comes into the public’s consciousness when we have these kinds of accidents.”
Mrs Hanna Martin meanwhile called for policymakers to make an “urgent and accelerated response”.
“The number of serious traffic accidents in recent weeks, many resulting in death, is a matter of national concern,” she said in a statement.
“The nation mourns each tragic and senseless death and I extend my personal condolences to families of all victims.
“I join with the minister of transport in urging road users to exercise the utmost care. Most traffic accidents are attributable to human behaviours such as speeding, overtaking in dangerous circumstances, driving under the influence of alcohol and distracted while driving. The onus then is on each of us to exercise caution and prudence on the streets.
“I also urge, however, the minister of transport to bring into effect the provisions of the Road Traffic Bill. This bill contains a comprehensive safety regime to fill gaps in the current law: this includes the statutory creation of a Road Safety Council: this council is designed to bring a singular focus to the causes of traffic accidents and to the implementation of preventative policies and measures based upon empirical data.
“This recent surge in traffic fatalities and serious accidents requires an urgent and accelerated response by policymakers.
“I call upon the minister to respond appropriately,” she said.