School Shuttle with students Crashes on La Gracia Road

The parents and students of La Gracia Village who commute daily to Eden High School in San Ignacio are this evening up in arms because of a traffic accident which occurred on the la Gracia road on Tuesday afternoon. PlusNews visited the village earlier this afternoon and spoke with the students who were engaged in the traffic accident when the school bus that the students used to commute Daily crashed into a BATSUB subvehicle because the bus was overtaking a parked vehicle on a very narrow road. LA GRACIA ACCIDENT Five students; four females and one male, commute to school daily but for some time have been complaining to the parents about the speed and the carelessness with which some of the bus drivers operate the shuttle.

#1, Student in Accident

At first the man received a call And they were talking about money. Before that he was already driving fast. After the call he started driving faster. A vehicle was about a mile ahead of us parked. The driver did not see him and started to pass that Vehicle And when he tried to pass, another vehicle came and we crushed. Sometimes he brings his gun and one day he told us that, if we wanted him to take us to the Bush, then he told us he was only joking. We did not tell him anything. Then on Tuesday he was with his child and when the accident happened his daughter crashed into the front glass and she started screaming and all of us were trapped in the car. We could not come out. The man started to shout and was taking photographs. My friend began to faint because she was frightened about accident. Then finally the man came out of the car to the window he got out and then he opened the door and we were able to get out. And he started to argue with the owner of the other vehicle. They argued back and forth and he told the man he wanted to “blow him off “Because he had the fault.

Journalist, Louis Wade 

what do mean blow him off?

#1, Student in Accident

I don’t know that is what he told him, very loud and in a very offensive voice  that he will “blow him off” and that’s what I heard.

Journalist, Louis Wade 

Was the driver careless? already a different drivers

#1, Student in Accident

Every so often the driver changes. One then another. They come what time they want. They do what they want. Sometimes they tell us that they will take care of us and nothing will happen to us. But they do not mean it. They just say it. 

Students say that Tuesday they were already uncomfortable with the speed when the bus driver allegedly received a call on his phone after which he increased his speed. The students also allege that the driver had his child sitting on his lap when the accident occurred.

Two of the female students had to be rushed to The Western Regional Hospital because they remained unconscious for several hours. A 3rd female student was treated at the Spanish Lookout Community clinic and later released.

Maria, Student in Accident

Firstly, I have nervous problems because of a previous accident that we had. I have gotten like that so with this new accident I could not control my nerves. So when the doctors were checking to ensure that I had no broken bones I could not do it because I was trembling. The doctor was trying to tell me to calm down but it was hard for me. Up to now a part of my head is still hurting me a lot. The next day it was terrible for me because I was in a lot of pain.

Journalist, Louis Wade 

Have any of the drivers sexually harassed you?

Maria, Student in Accident

That day we brought bananas and I was eating. I was not feeling well. I came to the front like the 2nd seat And I was sitting there and another guy was in the Van too. The driver asked the other guy why I’m  quiet and why I am not laughing with the other group. We like to laugh, but just ourselves, not with the driver. Then he said “I’m a very quiet girl” and he said that he loves quiet girls. The following Day when another driver came to drive us the driver asked the girls “Who is Maria?” and they pointed at me. Then he said that that the driver said ‘hi’. On the day of the accident, that is why I was at the back, because I did not like what the driver had been saying to me before.  One day he asked us if it is true that if he kisses a Spanish girl he will learn to speak Spanish. We did not answer him. Another time we were coming in the Van. One of my friends sprayed something and he became very angry and he took his gun and put it in the front So we could see it. So that we could stop doing what we were doing; she did not really mean to do it, she just spayed it. He got very angry and put out his gun; and it was something hard for me because I became extremely nervous. I did not know what to do and I told my mother about it. But it was not something to worry about. My parent had said not to get worried . I already felt that we were going to have an accident because when we were eating we ask the question “What will happen if we get into an accident?” and minutes after we said that the accident happened.

Students say that they don’t have a problem with the older driver but  several young men drive the bus at different times. The students allege that the  younger bus driver sometimes appear to high on something and often times sometimes they are sexually harassed as well.

#3, Student in Accident

 After the accident I felt very nervous. I could not concentrate on my studies and every time when I’m sleeping I wake up feeling nervous remembering what had happened and when I go to school I remember and I start to cry. I said to myself, imagine if I had died in that accident, what would happen to my mother and so on.  This way I felt very discouraged. My mom said if you do not want to go to school because of the accident don’t go… because “…if you are with that feeling I don’t think you will ever forget that accident” She told me I told my mother that the driver has been driving too fast and [has been] running off the road and my mom told us to tell the driver to drive slower so that we don’t have an accident. But when the accident occurred my father felt that already something had happened to me. I am afraid when we travel on the road.

Maria, Student in Accident

Sometimes I am nervous but Sometimes I’m not. Because I feel I will get into an accident. I have gotten into other vehicles that drive fast and I have not gotten into accidents.

Journalist, Louis Wade 

So on that day what were you doing?

Maria, Student in Accident

I was sitting in the middle chair I was sitting in the corner 1st and then I decided to go Closer to the left side of the Van when the accident happened. However I was talking with the girls and then I got into that chair

Journalist, Louis Wade 

Do you consider the driver to be dangerous? Do you think that there is the need for a change in the way of transport happens?

Maria, Student in Accident

Yes. Because we thought we saw it happen and we are afraid it will happen again.

Journalist, Louis Wade 

Do you think that the government needs to make it safer so you can go to school?

Maria, Student in Accident

Yes. Because we will always be afraid that we can have an accident and we could actually stop going to school.

The village of La Gracia is in a remote area of the Cayo district and the parents feel that their students are hostage to the whims of the drivers. They want the Ministry of Education to ensure that the children have a safe transportation to school and that the vehicle is reliable and with a responsible adult driver. We will hear from the parents in Monday’s newscast.

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