A foreign object lying on the Uriah Butler Highway may have caused the accident on Tuesday that resulted in the death of two women and not a defective tyre as initially believed.
This was yesterday disclosed to the Guardian Media by a senior licensing officer who received information directly from the investigating police officer and the inspector assigned to the Licensing Authority (Transport Division) of the Ministry of Works and Transport. Both officers were on the scene of the fatal accident in Charlieville on Tuesday.
According to a police report, at about 9.45 am one of the tyres on a dump truck heading south blew out.
The truck then collided with a Blue Waters truck next to it that in turn slammed into a PTSC Deluxe Coach in the northbound lane.
Two of the buses passengers – Tara Baboolal, 66, of Debe and Judy Clarke, 61, of Diego Martin, were killed instantly while 48 other passengers were injured and taken to hospital.
The senior Licensing Officer explained that because of the condition of the blown tyre it was hard to tell its prior condition. However, he added that the inspector looked at the remaining nine tyres on the truck and found them to be in good condition.
“The blown tyre would have disintegrated on the road, shredding it, so it would be of no use, but what the inspector did was inspect the other nine tyres that would have given him a fair indication as to the condition of the one that blew,” the senior licensing officer said.
“It was said that all the other tyres seem to be in good condition. So to say negligence as the cause is not so, as it is with respect to the findings of the preliminary investigations.”
Guardian Media was told that one of the investigating police officers at the scene reported that he observed a piece of metal on the roadway and believed that it may have penetrated the truck’s tyre, causing it to blow.
“Preliminary investigations also suggest that the piece of metal that was recovered from the scene did not seem to have come from any one of the vehicles that was involved in the accident so its quite possible that this may have caused the tyre to blow whilst not conclusive but it is possible,” the senior Licensing Officer told Guardian Media.
When contacted for comment yesterday, acting Transport Commissioner Basdeo Gosine said he was yet to receive the inspector’s report on the accident.
Asked what measures are in place to inspect trucks and other heavy vehicles that frequently use the nation’s roadways, Gosine said the Licensing Office has been carrying out spot checks over the past several months.
“For quite a while we have been carrying out spot checks throughout T&T – San Fernando, Caroni, Rivulet Road in Couva just to name a few where big trucks are restricted to particular routes.
They are given a route pass which is a document that they get from the Transport Board telling them which roads in T&T that they are allowed to drive on.”
Investigations are continuing.
Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat