At Mile 5 and a half on the Philip Goldson Highway around 9 Sunday morning, four badly damaged vehicles were all that remained of two separate traffic accidents, one fatal but both equally horrible to view. The first collision involved a Blue Ford escort and a Chevvy Equinnox being driven by mechanic Marvin Ramirez and security Guard Andre Gordon, respectively. Police say that from what they observed, the Blue Ford escort was in the wrong lane and caused the head-on collision. Ramirez was heading toward Belize City while the Equinox was headed in the opposite direction. Police suspect that alcohol may have been a factor in that case. Fortunately, both drivers only received minor injuries. That was not the case, however, for a white Toyota Tundra being driven at the time by Calvin Cumberbatch of Belize City and a Dodge Caravan driven by 81-year-old Alfredo Navarette. The Tundra ended up mangled with the mangroves on the right side of the highway with the Dodge caravan stuck at it’s midsection. That accident claimed the life of well-known Belize City resident and money lender, 44-year-old Pamela Bennett, a passenger in the Tundra. This accident caused a back log in traffic on both sides of the highway as Police worked to remove all vehicles from the scene. In fact, the second accident occurred while police were still trying to haul away the first two cars. According to Police, Bennett and her common-law-husband, Calvin Cumberbatch were headed in the direction of Orange Walk while Navarrete was headed to Belize City. The sole survivor, Cumberbatch, remains hospitalized receiving treatment. A blood and urine sample has been taken from him. So, what caused the accident? We asked Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, officer commanding Eastern Division Rural whether they have any indications at all of what may have happened:
Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster, Commander, Rural Eastern Division: At nine a.m. we had the accident, the unfortunate accident that claimed the lives of Ms. Pamela Bennett and Mr. Alfredo Navarette. Ms. Pamela Bennett was in the Tundra pickup truck along with Mr. Cumberbatch traveling to Orange Walk while Mr. Navarette was traveling towards Belize City when both collided between miles five and six on the Phillip Goldson Highway.
Broaster says that THAT particular curve along the Philip Goldson Highway is a rather dangerous one. He noted that to enforce traffic laws on all major highways, they require more resources and believes that with the road safety project being piloted, they are making headway on improving enforcement.