The Manchester police are once again urging road users to drive, ride and walk with due care following a surge in road deaths in the central parish.
Police say that up to late last week 14 people had died in 13 fatal crashes in Manchester since the start of the year. For the comparable period last year, eleven people had died in as many road accidents.
Among the latest tragedies, 25 year-old Afrefa Christian, daughter of popular Alligator Pond restaurant operator Everol ‘Blackie’ Christian, died last week when the speeding car in which she was a passenger crashed.
Just a few days before that incident, 69 year-old Glaston Herron died after his car reportedly hit two trucks on the steep Spur Tree Hill main road.
That crash left the crucial south coast road link blocked for hours, forcing motorists to backtrack and take lengthy alternative routes.
And last month, also on Spur Tree Hill, two young men from Central Village in St Catherine, 16-year-old Tyrese Ferguson and 25-year-old Oshane King, died when the vehicle in which they were passengers ran out of control, hit a median and overturned.
Sergeant Florizel Williams of the Manchester police traffic division said in many cases speeding, and other improper uses of the road, have led to tragedy and death.
In the latest case in Alligatior Pond, “speeding was definitely an issue,” he said. Williams said Spur Tree continued to be troublesome because many motorists – including truck drivers – some of whom were unfamiliar with the roadway insisted on throwing caution to the wind.
“On Spur Tree there are signs that tell drivers to change down to a lower gear, but many don’t do it and as a result we have cases of heavy vehicles, in particular, getting into trouble,” he said.
“People have to understand that motor vehicles are mechanical, something can go wrong at any time, they have to take care,” he said.
The tendency of many motorcyclists to take to the road without helmets is also posing a major headache. Five of the 14 people who have died on Manchester’s roads, so far this year, were motor-cyclists. Williams suggested that in most cases a helmet could have preserved life.
“Wearing protective head gear would have definitely helped,” he said.