Four friends went out on a lime to celebrate two birthdays on Saturday evening, but tragically, they all died in a drag race along the Manzanilla Road, early yesterday morning. The deaths of Soradiya Sharma, 22, Marvin Travis Siberan, 23, Rickky Balroop, 23, and Rickson Lalla, 23, left their families and the communities where they grew up in mourning yesterday.
Siberan, a customs clerk of Sunja Drive, Oropouche Road, Fishing Pond, turned 23 on Friday. Balroop, of Moolchan Street, Guaico/Tamana Road, also turned 23 on Saturday. He was an employee of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.
They were joined by Sharma, a chemical engineering graduate of Sangre Chiquito, and her boyfriend Lalla, a lecturer at Sital College, who lived at Foster Road, Sangre Grande, on Saturday evening for a lime at the Woods pub in Sangre Grande. The celebration had been planned for weeks and went into early yesterday morning.
Police report stated the group left the Woods at about 1 am and were on their way in Lalla’s Toyota Corolla station wagon to drop Sharma off in Sangre Chiquito.
Investigators believe Lalla may have joined up later with two other cars for a drag race on the Manzanilla Road. Speeding, he tried to overtake the cars but drove straight into a Toyota Hilux jeep, as it proceeded along the opposite lane.
“I just see this vehicle appear and tried to pull away and then I felt like my vehicle was up in the air and it spin around,” said Shane Leon, the driver of the Hilux, who survived the crash.
The four young friends were not so fortunate as the impact sent the Corolla tumbling over several times. It was at about 2.30 am, and the loud sound of the collision woke up the villagers of Cocoa Village, where the crash occurred.
Leon, who managed to get out of his Hilux, sought help from a villager and the police and firemen were called. The four friends never made it out of the Corolla and they all died in the car. The Jaws of Life had to be used to saw off the roof of the car to get the bodies out.
Relatives quickly found out about the accident but their hopes that the four had survived turned into cries of despair when they saw the bodies covered with sheets on the side of the road.
Villagers told Newsday the car was on its hood and they tried unsuccessfully to get the four friends out.
“Why these young people had to die like this?” asked one villager. The same question was asked repeatedly at the homes of the victims, where relatives, friends and neighbours wept openly, struggling to console each other. Siberan’s mother Maureen said her son told her he was going to lime at the Woods, with his friends, who first met at secondary school.
At Sangre Chiquito many gathered at the home of Sharma, whose mother Sita kept holding a photograph of her, crying out her name.
A relative said Sharma, the only daughter among five children, graduated as a chemical engineer from the University of the West Indies a year ago but had only recently got an on-the-job training assignment as a teacher at Sangre Chiquito Presbyterian School. Today would have been her first day of classes.
A similar story was told by Balroop’s mother, who did not want to be named. A single parent for 16 years, she had devoted her life to educating her son.
“I will miss my son. He was caring, disciplined and was about to begin university,” she said. Balroop last spoke to her about 8 pm on Saturday when he called to say he was “making a little lime and was coming home just now”.
“Being a single parent for 16 years and making the sacrifice for him to grow and for this to happen is not an easy thing for any mother,” she said.
Lalla’s sister Cassandra Ramrattan said he also told her he would not be long returning home when she called him at about 10 pm. She said Lalla and Sharma had plans to marry. Lalla also went to UWI.
“They were always together. God has his reason,” Ramrattan said. Autopsies are to be done on the four friends at the Forensic Science Centre, St James today. Their bodies were viewed by district medical officer Dr S Chalam yesterday morning before being taken to the Sangre Grande mortuary where they were transferred to the forensic centre.
Insp Neville Sankar, Cpls Allan Khan, Ricky Boodramsingh, PCs Indar Soodeen, Ayanna John and members of Eastern Task Force were all on the scene of the crash. Cpl Boodramsingh is continuing inquiries. The friends deaths have taken the road fatality toll to nine in the first two weeks of the new year.
On Saturday morning, Akeisha Williams, 21, died when the car in which she was a passenger crashed into a 40-foot container in Couva.
Williams, of Centeno Street, Marabella, was seated in the front passenger seat of a blue Nissan Sunny car which was driven by Steve Hyacinth. The accident took place along the Southern Main Road at about 4.10 am. The container was on the side of the road when Hyacinth crashed into it. He survived and was warded at the San Fernando General Hospital. However, Williams died on the spot. Rajesh Mitchell, Gerald David and Marcus Lynch, all passengers in the car, also survived with minor injuries.
source:RALPH BANWARIE of news day