Wednesday saw one of the most tragic road traffic accidents in recent years. Compounded with the fact that seven persons lost their lives, ambulances and firetrucks were unable to reach the scene quickly because of the traffic blocking the way. Despite their sirens, civilian drivers refused to move out of the way in order for the first responders to pass. Today when we spoke with the Commissioner of Police, he stated that what happened on the highway on Wednesday was illegal.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “It is in an SI that drivers are to heed to the sirens of fire, ambulance and police when it is heard and the truth is as you rightly said we have a difficulty in Belize where drivers hear the police sirens or the ambulance siren or the fire siren and instead of giving way they want to race in front of these emergency vehicles and so it is something that we need to look at in terms of enforcing and again having experienced this mass casualty on the George Price Highway we also need to see how we can put together a plan to deal with incidents of that nature. We have not had one like that in quite some time I think over fifteen years ago there was one with a Kia pick up truck and something but it is not something that occurs frequently but we do need to put together a plan that will also include emergency and fire. I know after the accident occurred I was one of the first to be called and I was told that they were trying to get fire and couldn’t get fire and I personally called the fire chief and he immediately sprang into action and the jaws of life was sent out to the scene to help to remove those who were trapped inside. And so the response from fire was extremely well I must say. Ambulance like you said there was a difficulty getting there and I think that what we need to do with traffic is to ensure that when we have these incidents we have a free flow leading up to where these vehicles are that the ambulance can drive all the way without any obstruction so we have to look at how we will put together something to make it possible.”
The accident took place around 3:30 in the afternoon, and traffic was blocked for more than 2 hours.