Belmopan police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal traffic accident at the Jaguar Paw Junction on the George Price Highway, that caused the death of American citizen 56 year old Teresa Lin Neuer.
At around midday, hundreds of oranges littered the road in front of the Jaguar Paw Junction, about 36 miles on the George Price Highway. This Western Star brand 18 wheeler truck transporting an estimated 675 bags of oranges belonging to HAL 2 flipped on its side spilling all its contents.
Inside the truck were Miguel Angel Arriaza Jr, the driver of the 18 wheeler, and Emil Lisbie, who was on the passenger’s side. He received a large cut wound to the head. But the worst part of the accident was found behind this large 18 wheeler cargo truck.
According to reports, at around 11:20 am on Tuesday February 17th, this blue Susuki being driven at the time by Leon Rodriguez, Belizean Tour Guide of Big John’s Tour Guide, was travelling in a North to South direction enroute to Jaguar Paw, when it was hit from behind by the 18 wheeler.
Stephanie Barrow is a free lance tour guide and was standing at the Jaguar Paw Junction and saw the incident unfold before her eyes.
Stephanie Barrow- Eyewitness
“I was presently at the junction, 37 miles Jaguar Paw, waiting for a job when I witnessed a truck filled with oranges impacted into a small blue SUV, and collided into the back of it, and it dragged it a couple miles along, and the vehicle flipped into the side and truck overturned.”
“Tell me, you were explaining to me that the blue vehicle had his indicator for a long while. Explain that to me.”
“He had his indicator on from a distance coming down the highway. He got in front of the junction, turning off on to the right side and the truck tipped the back of the blue vehicle and it flipped. Then by the time it got to the middle of it, the back of the truck just kept on dragging it down the street, until it got into the side where the big drain is, and then the big truck just flipped over, and the trailer flipped over.”
Reports are that the blue Susuki was slowing down to pull off to the right side of the road, so that the truck could pass the Suzuki. The Suzuki would then cut across to the left side of the road enroute to Jaguar Paw, once the truck was pass.
As a result, the truck attempted to overtake the Suzuki. However a bus was reportedly coming from the opposite direction, and so the truck pulled back just in time to tip the blue Susuki from behind, causing it to spin out of control. But that was not the end of it; the trailer being pulled by the truck hit the small Susuki vehicle from the rear and dragged it along the highway before it ran off the road and landed on its side.
Witnesses rushed to the scene to free the victims trapped inside the wreckage.
“I went up to the vehicle, and I saw the driver lean back. The passenger in front was a male, leaning onto the chest of the driver, and the lady in the back was crushed in.
So, we woke up the driver, took him out, found out that the male was also conscious. He started responding, we took him out the vehicle, and then we sent him to the hospital in one of the police vehicles.
But the lady was not responding. She was fully crushed in the back, so we tried to cut her out and gave her enough air until the ambulance came. One problem – that ambulance took 55 minutes to get here.
She was very low on pulse. She was not breathing too high. They took her out. They got her in [the ambulance], but by the time they got here I think she had already passed.
Both legs were fully broken. Her neck was fractured. Her arms were broken.
The man was conscious, because I spoke to him. His name is Mister Sam. He told me he was OK. We got him into the vehicle, standing up and everything, a little dizzy, but we got him up, and he was conscious enough to go to the hospital.”
John Pollard – Owner, of Big John’s Tour and Taxi Company
” Leon Rodriguez is a driver from within our department, and Leon also is a careful driver. He has a guide license, side-guide, and he is in school to continue doing what he is doing.
At the same time, all drivers out there need to be careful, because we have people who get hurt on these kind of occasions. Unfortunately today for us, two persons were involved with him, who are tourists. He was heading to Jaguar Paw, which is at mile 37. The incident happened just almost at the mouth of Jaguar Paw, on the George Price Highway.”
American citizen Samuel Shout, 56 years of age, was sitting on the passenger’s side of the blue Susuki. He was taken to the Western Regional Hospital complaining of abdominal pain, and was later transported to a private hospital in Belize City.
Sitting at the back of the vehicle was his travel companion 56 year old American Citizen Teresa Lin Neuers, who was transported to the Western Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Her body now lies at the morgue awaiting a post mortem examination.
The US embassy has gotten involved to see the process through.