The high number of traffic fatalities throughout the country in 2018 continues to be a major concern for police, said Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson during his press briefing on Tuesday, January 8.
Recognizing a notable increase in traffic related deaths last year when compared to 2017, Ferguson said that an assessment was undertaken and a decision made to deploy additional motorcycle police presence throughout the Commonwealth, to assist in road safety management.
Last year, 2018, nation-wide 69 persons lost their lives in traffic mishaps – 53 males and 16 females. A year prior, 2017, 54 persons lost their lives as the result of a traffic accident, an increase of 29 percent.
Of the 69 traffic deaths reported last year; 11 of them took place in Grand Bahama, 42 in New Providence and 16 on Family Islands.
“As you can see, so far, for the year 2018 there were 63 accidents that resulted in 69 deaths. Forty-two of the traffic incidents occurred in New Providence, 11 in Grand Bahama and 16 in the Family Islands signally an increase of 29 percent over last year’s total of 49.
“Having assessed the traffic statistics in those areas, 25 new motorcycles were deployed to assist in the management of road safety. Thirteen cycles were assigned to New Providence, five to Grand Bahama, two each to Abaco and Exuma and one each to Long Island, Eleuthera and Cat Island, as we recognized the streets in those areas as somewhat dangerous,” disclosed the commissioner.
Last year, as previously mentioned, 11 persons lost their lives due to traffic accidents on the streets of Grand Bahama – 10 males and one female. Four of the 11 traffic fatalities were pedestrians. The island’s first reported traffic fatality claimed the life of 38-year-old Moses Omar Leopold.
Leopold was a passenger in a red 2007 Nissan Cube, which was travelling along Grand Bahama Highway. He passed away on January 27, 2018.
On February 9, pedestrian William Christopher Gibson Jr., a 36-year-old resident of Hudson Estates, lost his life, when he was struck by an H. Forbes Charter bus at the intersection of Coral Road and Settler’s Way. His death was classified as the island’s second traffic fatality for 2018.
March 31, Romin Romillio Belizaire, a passenger on a public bus lost his life as a result of a collision between the bus and a private vehicle. The accident occurred at the intersection of Drumfish Street and Green Turtle Street, Caravel Beach.
Belizaire, a resident of Clarke Avenue was ejected from the vehicle upon impact and landed on the side of the road. He sustained critical injuries and was rushed to the Rand Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed shortly after arrival.
His death was classified as this island's third traffic fatality for 2018.
On May 14, three men were stuck by a vehicle on the Warren J. Levarity Highway, near The Lobster Trap. One of the males, identified as a 25-year-old, Affi from Indonesia, died on the scene. The other two were transported to hospital.
Three days later, on May 17, shortly after 9:00 p.m., 31-year-old Saisal Muhammad, also of Indonesia, succumbed to injuries sustained as a result of that traffic accident. The men’s death was classified as the island’s fourth and fifth traffic fatalities for 2018.
Two days later, May 19, a 49-year-old female of Sea Grape, Eight Mile Rock lost her life, when she was the passenger in a grey GMC truck that collided with a tree on The Mall Drive near the Royal Bank of Canada. Carolyn Belazaire was reportedly the only female to lose her life on the streets of Grand Bahama for 2018.
She was classified as the island’s sixth fatality.
Eleven traffic fatalities were recorded in May, including 19-year-old Devon Poitier of Deadman’s Reef, who succumbed to injuries at the scene of the accident on May 22. Poitier lost his life, when the silver Honda Fit he was driving collided with a utility pole in the Bootle Bay area.
He was reported as the island’s seventh traffic fatality for the year.
On June 1, Sir Randol Fawkes Day holiday, 52-year-old Samuel Knowles Sr. became the island’s eighth traffic fatality for the year, when the silver Honda Fit he was driving collided with a utility pole. Knowles also succumbed at the scene on the Bayshore Road, Eight Mile Rock.
The following month, July 15, Trey Garvey a 19-year-old male of Caravel Beach lost his, life when he was the victim of a hit and run accident that occurred on West Sunrise Highway, west of Yorkshire Drive. He was classified as the island’s ninth traffic fatality.
Hours before the start of the 2018 new school year, two young men were classified as the island’s 10th and 11th traffic fatalities. On September 2, Perez Hepburn, 16, and Frankly Cooper, 15 lost their lives on Settler’s Way, when the black Ford Escape in which they were passengers collided with a utility pole. Both young men died at the scene.
A little over a week into the new year, the country reported the first traffic fatality for 2019. The incident occurred in the capital and claimed the life of an adult male.
Reports revealed that the accident occurred on Poinciana Drive. The victim was riding a 1999 Honda X Trail motorbike, when he was involved in an accident with a 2007 Honda Jeep, driven by a female. The victim received serious injuries and succumbed at hospital. The accident occurred on January 6.