Tragedy Strikes Cayo District: Four Lives Lost in George Price Highway Collision
Four men from the Cayo District were killed in a highway collision last night on the George Price Highway. The incident has brought several families to tears and heartbreak as their relatives were looking forward to seeing them after a day of work. As the funerals for the four men are being planned, three others are currently on the road to recovery after being pulled from the wreckage. Reporter Vejea Alvarez traveled to San Ignacio Town, and filed the following report.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The lives of four men, who were fathers, brothers, and sons, came to a screeching halt on Wednesday night at the hands of a reckless driver. The men, 45-year-old Noel Pineda, 47-year-old Matias Miguel Gonzalez, 41-year-old Ian Harrison Mahler, and 21-year-old Cristian Lobos, were heading home to San Ignacio in an Isuzu vehicle when it was slammed by a dodge ram pickup truck. Assistant Superintendent of Police Hilberto Romero says the group attempted to avoid the collision, but their efforts were in vain.
ACP Hilberto Romero, Officer Commanding Eastern Division: “Investigations revealed that Alejandro Hernandez was driving the Dodge Ram pickup when he overtook a vehicle and collided into the Isuzu vehicle causing the injuries to the persons. They’re saying that the Dodge Ram vehicle overtake another vehicle and did not have enough time to get back into his lane and he collided with the Isuzu vehicle on their lane.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Gonzalez was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed, while the others died on the scene, where debris and pieces of metal remain scattered across a portion of highway near mile 62. Damaris Ayala, Pineda’s wife, described the ordeal as a tragedy yet to sink in. She was at a loss for words but managed to speak about the father of five and how his death will impact the family.
Damaris Ayala, Wife of Noel Pineda: “I was waiting for him yesterday to come home and he didn’t reach. And this is very very sad and I’m very very disappointed, very mad because of the way that it happened. It wasn’t his fault. They just tried to avoid this drier that I don’t know , well the survivor said that this man was overtaking so many vehicles and they saw it but when they overtook him it was too late for the pickup I think it was or gas truck or something, it was too late.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: For Gonzalez’s wife, Maria Vasquez, his death is yet another blow to her already aching heart. Vasquez recently underwent surgery and says her husband was the one nursing her back to health.
Maria Vasquez, Wife of Mattias Gonzalez: “I saw him from morning when he left me by my bed he just came and hugged me and kissed me before he left but I never expected he wasn’t going to come back home. I didn’t expect my common law to go so quick because we had some arguments or nothing, he brought me from the surgery on Sunday evening we lived so happy. We were enjoying and everything.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: While Vasquez lost her breadwinner, Lobos’ mother lost her youngest son, whom she described as a hardworking and humble man. She says that despite a gut feeling that something was wrong, her other son hesitated to tell her about the tragedy.
Neyma Lobos, Mother of Christian Lobos: “I only know what they come to tell me, what I hear but I know that my son – I don’t even know what to tell you because how I knew my son no because -“
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: As for Ian Mahler, who also worked construction at the Camalote Golf Course, he was merely a hitchhiker with hopes of getting home. Unfortunately, while that hope was crushed, 29-year-old Melvin Ramos, 24-year-old Eric Delgado, and Ostolio Garcia are praying they’ll make it out alive.
Damaris Ayala, Wife of Noel Pineda: “It was a tragedy I mean four men, four lives, father, mother, wife, kids stay without their dad without their brother, it’s very sad for me. My friends I have friends that their husbands died, her son died, my next friend has her husband at the hospital right now in a very bad condition. May god have mercy on the ones that survived because they’re fighting for their lives right now the other two that are in the hospital. I just hope they get better.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: For these women, the hardest part to grasp is the fact that the men were not at fault. They are now demanding justice for their loved ones.
Maria Vasquez, Wife of Mattias Gonzalez: “No matter how I stand right now but if anybody comes and says you know out there they are asking for justice I will go out there to support because I know I had my common law right there I know he had three children and he left his children by themselves.”
Damaris Ayala, Wife of Noel Pineda: “How many people have been driving like that and they don’t do anything. Kids getting knocked down because of drivers like that and they don’t do anything. Persons drinking and they still drive and they don’t do anything. They need to do something about this.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: While the women may want more than a manslaughter charge, police say it is the best they can do.
ACP Hilberto Romero, Officer Commanding Eastern Division: “Alejandro Hernandez is in custody. A urine sample has been obtained and he will be charged for the fatalities.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: What type of charges are we looking at ?
ACP Hilberto Romero, Officer Commanding Eastern Division: “Manslaughter by negligence and driving without due care and attention.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The family they’re saying that they would probably want more because they understood that –
ACP Hilberto Romero, Officer Commanding Eastern Division: “Those are the charges for traffic accidents. That is the maximum charges that can be levied.”Vejea Alvarez, Love News.