The seven passengers involved in the fatal car accident in Las Cuevas, last Sunday morning, were partying the night before, according to a relative of two people.
And that relative is also chiding this loved ones for defying COVID-19 restrictions to attend a beach lime.
Speaking to Guardian Media, outside of the Forensic Science Centre, in St James, on Monday, Conrad Mandley said the group’s members were drinking and playing dominoes, before going out to sea on a boat.
This, he said, was confirmed to him by his younger sister, Kizzy Mandley, who suffered a fractured foot in the accident.
His cousin, Crystal Cazoe, a 29-year-old, mother of four, died.
According to Mandley, upon returning to land from the boat, the limers were supposed to be taken back to Maracas Bay by the driver, but he refused and dropped them off in Las Cuevas instead.
They then hitched a ride with another driver, but they, of course, never made it to Maracas in that vehicle.
He said, according to his sister, the driver appeared intoxicated.
“He pulled off in the van, and everything was a chain reaction after. The vehicle left the road, hitting an embankment, and then hitting a light pole. He lost control of the vehicle because they sped around the curve,” Mandley lamented.
“People were scattered all over the place,” he added.
Asked what he thought about the decision by his relatives to partake in the COVID-19 lime, Mandley said he scolded his sister for doing so.
He said he found it difficult to understand why she agreed to take that chance, especially with the public health measures currently in place.
“I said, Kizzy, you see what going on? You have kids as well. What if something worse happened? Suppose it was you? What would have been their state?” he recalled.
Pushing his sister for answers, when he visited her at the hospital on Sunday evening, Mandley said she told him, it was never supposed to go this way.
Having worked until 5 pm the previous day, she took up a friend’s invitation to join her at Maracas Beach after work.
It started with drinks, a good time, and a game of dominoes, but ended in tragedy.
“Then, somebody come and say, let’s take a ride on a boat for fifteen minutes and come back. She said it was never supposed to be like that. Once the alcohol kicked in, and under the influence of others, other people joined in,” he said, remembering what his sister told him.
Other people there refused to go on the boat though, opting instead to go home.
The mother of the victim, Crystal Cazoe, was also at the Forensic Science Centre but said she was too distraught to speak.
Wendell Perry, the father of Cazoe’s fourth child, said Crystal was a fun-loving person.
He said she was a sweet, loving mother, who adored her children.
Asked how the children were dealing with her loss, he said, “They aren’t coping. They aren’t coping at all.”
During Monday’s COVID-19 Health Ministry Press Conference, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh repeated his call for citizens to stay at home, and practice social distancing.
On Sunday morning, eight people, seven passengers and the driver, were travelling along the North Coast Road in Las Cuevas.
The van flipped and landed on its hood, killing one person, and injuring others.
The driver has not been charged, as yet, in relation to the incident.
Mandley, the victim’s cousin, said he feels no anger towards the driver, but hopes everyone involved learned a lesson.
When he was 17-years-old, he lost four other family members in an accident in Paria.