Scores of University of the West Indies students are reportedly on edge following a collision that injured seven pedestrians on Friday night.
Dylan Browne, chairman for the Keith Hunte Hall of Residence at the bottom of the hill on University Drive where most of the students are staying, told Barbados TODAY the victims were from as near as Grenada and as far away as Canada, who just days before landed in Barbados for the first time to begin their studies.
The freshmen were on their way to one of many events planned to welcome them to the campus when a car ran off the road at the Cave Hill campus’s entrance on University Drive and crashed into them, prompting a mass-casualty response from emergency personnel.
The injured students were recovering “quite well” from head, foot and shoulder injuries, Browne said.
“There were only three students that had major injuries. The first three got lashed and managed to get out the way in time, so there wasn’t much harm done to them. But the other three who were severely injured were taken to the hospital, assessed, bandaged, discharged and so far, I can say it has been a good recovery.
“Some of them are walking with a limp, of course, because all the pain is not gone, but there are recuperating.”
Browne acknowledged the incident had placed a damper on the freshmen students’ first week of school.
He told Barbados TODAY: “It’s been a traumatic experience for all who were there, those who were injured.
“Some of them are still terrified of walking up the hill. We went to the beach the other day and everybody was ‘jumpy’ and looking to see when a car was coming, how fast it was coming. So it’s still traumatising but they are working with each other and looking out for each other.
“All of them are freshers. They were pretty excited about the event that we were heading to. It was unfortunate it had to happen. We still had some events planned for them but they were a bit depressed because they couldn’t attend.
“But for the other freshers, the support from them has been really strong. Their support has been tremendous and I think that incident made them have a bond that could not be replaced very easily.”
The president of the Guild of Students, Thacher Loutin, while acknowledging the incident was a very rare occurrence, called on authorities to place reminders to motorists to proceed with caution around the campus.
Loutin said: “While we do have a stoplight and a crossing, which is working, I am thinking… if the university could just have a sign at the bottom of [University Drive] saying: ‘You are now approaching the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. Drive with care,’ I think that drivers would be more mindful while coming up the hill and we have to be mindful that we have a hall [of] residence which is at the bottom of the hill and they have to walk up.
“Our students are very frightful right now, they are afraid of even walking up because of the incident that took place. These incidents don’t normally take place, but you can never say never. So at least a sign at the bottom of the hill would probably caution drivers coming up the hill.” (KS)