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Cayo Woman Dead After Vehicle She was Travelling in Plunges into the Mopan River

Tonight, a well known activist is dead and her common-law-husband is in police custody following a road traffic incident last evening. Speculations in some corners are that alcohol may had been a factor, although family members refute that claim. Reporter Vejea Alvarez headed out west and filed the following report.

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: An employee of the Ministry of Human Development lost her life yesterday evening after the vehicle she was travelling in plunged into the Mopan River. 44 year old Brenda Pacheco Guerra was along with her spouse 49 year old Edward Panti heading east from Benque Viejo del Carmen Town to San Ignacio. According to preliminary information Panti lost control of the Ford Escape SUV between miles 72 and 73 on the George Price Highway. The vehicle subsequently swerved off the highway and landed in the river. Guerra’s brother Tony says that Panti’s account of what happened was a steering wheel gone bad. 

Tony Guerra, Brother of Deceased: “What I’m getting from my brother in law is that the steering wheel locked and that is a curve where that happened and when that happened then he lost control of the vehicle running into the river and for some reason she couldn’t get out of the vehicle and when he eventually got out of the vehicle he went and took her out of the vehicle and took her to shore.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: And that’s when Guerra arrive on the scene and tried to perform CPR but unfortunately it was too late. 

Tony Guerra, Brother of Deceased: “I received a call to be exact at 6:22 in the evening telling me to go by the basketball court in San Jose Succotz that my sister had drowned. So I rushed there. When I rushed there I saw her out of the river on the river bank and I started to conduct CPR on her along with my friend Mr.Wayne that was the person who called me. We tried to resuscitate her giving her the CPR but unfortunately it was too late.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: According to police when they arrived on the scene Panti had what they believed was alcohol on his breath. A blood sample was obtained and Panti was taken into custody. His brother in law Tony who was there shortly after the incident says that he doesn’t recall smelling alcohol. 

Tony Guerra, Brother of Deceased: “I cannot recall having that same scent coming from him. So I cannot say if he was under alcohol or if he was not. What I know is that when I was there my brother in law was in shock and I can understand that because when you experience an accident like that you immediately go into shock. People might say ‘Well you should have done this.’ or ‘You should have done that.’ but when it happens to you then you would know what to do or what you did not do, what you should do but you did not do because you are in shock and that is what I saw from him. He was in shock that he didn’t know where to start from but if alcohol was a factor I am not in a position to say.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The results of that blood sample are what will determine the charges against Panti. Until then the tour guide is facing the possibility of being charged with driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit, causing death by careless conduct, and manslaughter by negligence. Guerra leaves behind two daughters ages 22 and 26.

The Ford Escape SUV was extracted from the Mopan River this afternoon.