KINGSTON – Eleven-year-old Clan Carthy Primary School student Georgenae Pinnock was a picture of shock and grief as she told her mother about horrific accident that claimed the life of a schoolmate yesterday afternoon.
Georgenae had watched with horror as a garbage truck slammed into a taxi, then overturned, trapping two children, in the area where students are picked up after school just after 4:30 pm.
“Some pickney did under there so,” she said, pointing to the spot where the lifeless body the seven-year-old student, who police identified as Benjamin Bair, lay covered by an orange cloth. “And the garbage truck just start blaze go down there. The pickney dem couldn’t get fi run because dem think the truck did a go through the gate, or the truck just did a turn. Then the truck lick up the taxi and the taxi fly up in the air and mash up, and him stuck…” she said, her voice trailing off as she covered her face to sob silently in her mother’s arms.
“Me never know say anybody get mash up or anything, so mi never start bawl same time,” the grade six student, who had stayed late for extra Primary Exit Profile lessons, told the Jamaica Observer. “But when mi see mi cousin dem start bawl, is that time me start cry.”
Her mother, Shyanne Chin, said she was not sure what to expect as she made her way to the school having heard that students were stuck under a garbage truck.
“The whole a inside a mi did traumatised,” she said, shaking her head. “Mi see her about five minutes after mi come up here. She tell me that she don’t know how she a go focus fi do the exam after this.”
Other parents and onlookers flocked the school at Deanery Road in Kingston after 5:00 pm as emergency crews worked to remove the wreckage from the compound.
Opal Brown, a nurse at Victoria Jubilee Hospital, got a call just before 5:00 pm and she immediately made her way the school to ensure that her 10-year-old daughter, Natanya, was safe.
“She stays after school in the evening to play netball, so it could have been her. It could have been anybody, because it’s in the waiting area where they get picked up that it happened,” she lamented.
“It could have been me!” exclaimed a grade five teacher at the school, who asked not to be identified. “That’s the time I usually leave work, but today I just felt like leaving early. When I got home I heard what happened and made my way back up here.”
Meanwhile Deputy Superintendent of Police Oniel Thompson, who is in charge of operations for the Kingston East division, confirmed that Bair, a grade two student, died on the spot, while a woman who was injured in the incident is being treated at Kingston Public Hospital.
“Investigations are continuing, but from what I understand, the driver of the truck was not in the vehicle when the incident happened,” he said. “He was taking up some garbage outside of the truck, when the vehicle run off, hit a car, and overturned on the child. So far we are seeing it as a case of death by misadventure.”
The driver of the truck, who onlookers say had unsuccessfully tried to stop it when he realised that it was moving, had turned himself in to the police, Thompson confirmed. He clarified, too, that the truck belongs to a private contractor. (Jamaica Observer)