Last month the police commissioner addressed the issue of road traffic accidents that continue to plague our highways. Last night there was a massive RTA on the George Price Highway. 35-year-old, Immigration Officer, Jessica Heusner passed away during that Thursday night accident that left traffic backed up on the highway. Heusner was driving to Belize City from Belmopan at around ten thirty when her SUV collided with a freightliner truck. The police department quickly responded to the scene between miles 11 and 12 on the George Price Highway. When the cops arrived at the scene at 10:45 p.m., they saw Heusner’s vehicle in the middle of the highway engulfed in flames. Two freightliner trucks which were headed in opposite directions were also on the road. One of the tow head’s driver-side rear wheel and rim were completely damaged. Because Heusner’s vehicle combusted upon impact with the tow-head, the fire department was called to the scene to quickly extinguish the fire. The Station Supervisor for the National Fire Service explained what the department encountered on the highway.
Kenneth Mortis – Station Supervisor, National Fire Service: “We found the remains of an unidentified SUV fully engulfed in flames, we then got into operations extinguishing the blaze. We started our investigation which during that time we then learned that the driver of the vehicle, an unknown female was trapped in the vehicle and succumbed to the injuries of the fire. We had to do what we were called to do and it was an unfortunate tragedy. After the fire was extinguished, based on our findings and investigations we learned that vehicle was being driven at the time by an unknown female who was apparently coming from Belmopan en route to Belize City whereby she made an attempt to overtake a trailer and somehow ran into an oncoming trailer on the other side of the road. The head-on collision caused the vehicle to simultaneously burst into flames and that was where she succumbed to the injuries. Based on what we could pick up it was basically burned to a crisp, it was a gruesome sight and not one that you would want to indulge in, I am going to leave it at that.”
Jose Sanchez – Reporter: “Would it be the impact of the accident that would have caused her death or the subsequent fire?”
Kenneth Mortis – Station Supervisor, National Fire Service: “It could have been a combination of both. I am going to leave that to the forensic to determine his ruling and his finding. Speed combined with the impact could have sent her into a trapped state, mangled vehicles and flesh always trap you between those elements and then the fire but like I said I am only putting it out there so the general populace can have an idea what metal vs. flesh can do. The medical practitioner will forward his finding regarding the actual cause of death.”
What we know about Jessica Heusner is that she is a single parent of two kids. She worked at the Immigration Department and she was well loved by friends and colleagues. Heusner was also a student. We spoke to one of Heusner’s UB professors who was first met her as a classmate some years ago. Dr. Candice Pitts recalled the times she met Heusner.
Dr. Candice Pitts: “Jessica and I initially met at St. John’s College Jr. College. We were classmates and schoolmates, we were in classes together. She was always a reserved person but she was always vocal in terms of her perspectives on different social, cultural and political issues. Then recently our paths crossed again at the University College of Belize where she was a student of two of my Literature classes. Again she was always insightful, I looked forward to reading her essays, also, I looked forward to her individual and personal input in the discussions that we would have in class. She was very strong in terms of her position on the empowerment of women in particular and the marginalized so I was really saddened by the news this morning that she was a victim in a traffic accident. That has been a really great loss for the University, community and academic community. The death is very untimely, I don’t think that anyone is ever prepared for death but this one was very shocking. We just really came to the end of the semester. She wasn’t in any of my classes this semester but she was in my class last semester. I could just imagine she probably just submitted her last essays and received her grades. I know that she was a mother, I know that she was a daughter, I know that she was a friend and ultimately a loved one, this is an unexpected loss. I really extend my condolences to all of her loved ones, to her family members, to her friends, to her coworkers and anyone who may have crossed paths with her. She was just one of those really beautiful beings that I really don’t have anything negative or anything bad to say about. She was Jessica, just a beautiful soul and I am really glad that I was able to share some special moments with her.”
Heusner was a career immigration officer and leaves behind two children. As per procedure, the police department has issued Notices of Intended Prosecution to both drivers of the freightliners.