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03.03.2009 Tragedy

16 Killed In Fighting Road Accident

By Daily Guide

Eleven persons perished in the early hours of yesterday after the 19-seater Ford in which they were traveling from Takoradi to Accra drove into a stationary MAN Diesel truck at Okyereko near Winneba in the Central Region.

Nine persons died on the spot while the others gave up the ghost on arrival at the Winneba Government Hospital.

Others who escaped death but sustained serious injuries were receiving attention at the same hospital, including Isaac Nketsia, the 31-year-old driver of the Ford bus.

The deceased included seven men, two women and a boy.

According to an eyewitness, the driver of the Ford which was cruising at top speed, attempted to overtake a vehicle but on discovering that another was approaching in the opposite direction, decided to take the outer lane.

In the course of this last minute manouvre, the driver drove the vehicle into the stationary truck.

Some policemen at a checkpoint, upon hearing news about the accident, said they were not surprised, as according to them, the over-speeding driver ignored their order to stop when he got to their point.

The remains of the dead have been deposited at the morgue awaiting autopsy and identification by relatives.

According to ASP Nana Ofori of the Winneba Police Motor Traffic Unit (MTU), when he and his team reached the accident scene, they found that the 19-seater Ford bus with registration number GW 4306 Q heading for Accra from Takoradi had driven into the parked, broken-down truck on the right shoulder of the road.

The impact, the police officer said, resulted in the immediate death of nine persons with another, a lady, dying upon arrival at the Winneba Government Hospital.

He attributed the rising tide of road accidents to over-speeding and inexperience on the part of drivers.

When DAILY GUIDE visited the Government Hospital in Winneba, there was a horde of relatives shedding tears over the gory spectacle of injured persons and the dead at the mortuary.

Dr. Theophilus C. Okolia told DAILY GUIDE that six persons who survived the accident were on admission at the facility.

Three of them suffered multiple cuts on their bodies while the others sustained fractures on their hands and legs.

One unidentified woman died on arrival at the hospital probably from internal bleeding, the doctor added.

He said those who sustained fractures might be transferred to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital because the victims required special medical attention.

A survivor of the accident, Martin Alichiman, a 40-year-old student of the University of Education, Winneba, told DAILY GUIDE that “all I remember was the driver overspeeding.”

He said he embarked on the journey to deliver a job to a client in Accra and return later for classes.

Between Saturday and Sunday, four persons lost their lives with others sustaining various degrees of injury in separate accidents on the same Cape Coast to Winneba stretch of the Takoradi to Accra highway.

The past three weeks have witnessed over a hundred deaths on the country's roads from the Northern to Central regions.

In a village near Tamale, a Mercedes Benz bus drove into another vehicle killing dozens of passengers.

On the same day, another fatal accident at Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region claimed a number of lives.

The Transportation Minister, Mike Hammah called for a look at the deteriorating situation on our roads with a view to arresting it.

In a statement, the Police Administration yesterday expressed worry over the spate of accidents and therefore made a passionate appeal to all motorists, especially heavy-duty drivers, to exercise caution and good judgment.

Drivers, the statement counseled, should be mindful of human life, the state of their vehicles and exercise due care while on the highways.

Although the highways might have some technical challenges, the statement continued, “it is believed that if traffic regulations are observed, these frequent road accidents will be minimized”.

Meanwhile, the Police are going to enforce stringent traffic regulations to ensure that motorists who violate traffic rules  are  arrested and prosecuted accordingly, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.

From Sarah Afful & Jos Garneo Cephas, Okyereko Junction