Within a span of six hours, three separate fatal traffic incidents occurred in Belize. Commuters coming into Belize City this morning were held back as officers processed the scene of the latest fatal incident that killed Marlena Mortis.
Jose Sanchez: “The outskirts of Belize City has stretched to the mangroves of Belama Phase 4 and the highway areas from Mirab to Brodies. They were built in front of residential areas which are lengthy distances to walk to cross the highway. This morning a woman, Marlena Mortis crossed the area between DK and Dolphin Drive and lost her life before 6:30.”
Voice 1: “She was a nice young lady you know. When she saw me she used to hail me and thing so we would talk. Sometimes I would hold the child that she would have and so but before Christmas I haven’t seen her because she said how she lived down in Placencia and was teaching there so when I came out here this morning and I asked the Police just take the plastic off her face so I could see whom but he didn’t want me to take it off because I just feel like it was someone that I knew and I was so sad when I went home because I know it was someone that I knew. I had cold seed coming down on my hand and so because I know it was some that I knew you know.”
ASP Alejandro Cowo: “The deceased was attempting to jump over the barrier and whilst she was doing so they had two vehicles that were coming towards Belize City and she ended up landing herself on top of one of the vehicles where she was hit and received several injuries to her body. The vehicle stopped at a distance and the driver came out and at this moment he is detained.
Jose Sanchez: “Hours later people still crossed the highway in spite of the death and in spite of the barriers erected by the Ministry of Works. We asked them why.”
Voice 2: “Believe me I think they are building up the area but we need to get from point a to point b without these barricades or whatever you call them. Sometimes I walk by Brodies or go by Traveller’s which is over there but I am a young person so I will cross these and then go over to DK.”
Jose Sanchez: “So you yourself cross the barrier?”
Voice 2: “I cross the barrier but then elderly people can’t.”
Jose Sanchez: “Do you also illegally run over to DK?”
Voice 1: “I jump over all those things like man to go to buy at the shop, everyday.”
Reporter: “Is it concern for you that you are putting your life at risk?”
Voice 1: “I know I am putting my life at risk yes because one day a Taxi man told me stop do that and just go around but I would have to go way by Brodies and you know to go and come and then walk on the sidewalk to go to DK. I know it’s a risk.”
Jose Sanchez: “Do you want the Ministry of Works to put some Pedestrian Crossing?
Voice 1: “Yes I want the Ministry to put that in and very fast too because you know children pass over there too. Sometimes children and mothers that are carrying their kids over that thing, they are carrying them to the shop or to catch the bus to go to school you know.”
Jose Sanchez: “ Area residents say even without barriers, people have been hurt and they need crosswalks for the residents of Belama and Buttonwood Bay.”
Voice 3: “I saw this problem coming because my nephew got ran over before they put up the barricades. I called and I spoke to Mr. Albert Vaughan and Albert Vaughn said that City Council was trying to have them stop putting in this stuff here but that Ministry of Works said that it is the way it is going to be and they refuse to put the crosswalk so now that this happened I hope that Mr. Barrow that lives right down here sees this problem as a big problem and fixes it. “
Voice 4: “This is a community and people should realize that people live here. Children go to school and they have to cross the road to catch the bus and do you know how much times if I stand up out here and watch them I will see people cross.”
Voice 3: “My mom is 82, she used to take her little walk right here because she lived right here and walked over there to the store. She can’t even go to the store and my brother goes to the store and he is half crippled and deaf and he has to jump over this thing to go to the store for my mom. It makes no sense and every single day it happens.”
Jose Sanchez: “On the 16th of November, 2018 the Belize City administrator had sent a letter to the Ministry of Works stating about the concern of mile 2 and 3.5 that it presents safety challenges to pedestrians who must cross the highway at various points… and it has failed to consider that residents need to cross the highway at multiple points.”