Five days after Kesav Ragoo, 20, survived an accident which claimed the life of soldier Junior La Barrie, he and one of his friends were burnt to death after the car in which they were travelling crashed and burst into flames near their Freeport homes yesterday.
Ragoo, of Ramdass Trace, La Quesa, and his friend Sheldon Ramdial, 25, of Arena Road, died on the spot. The survivor, driver and close friend Steffon Madho, 20, of Felicity, Chaguanas, is listed in a critical condition at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
The deaths of the young men plunged the close knit Freeport community into mourning.
Police reports indicate that Madho was heading south along the Solomon Hochoy Highway around 12.05 am, on his way to drop off Ragoo and Ramdial at their respective homes. While attempting to enter the Freeport exit he lost control of his white Nissan B15 and the vehicle ran off the road, overturned and burst into flames, trapping the passengers inside.
Kerwin Fraser, who lives nearby, heard the loud sound and rushed to the scene, where he was able to rescue Madho before the car became engulfed in flames. Fraser said he crossed the road and saw the bonnet of the vehicle in flames. He saw the driver attempting to escape the burning car and dragged him to safety.
"He was severely burnt," Fraser said.
Fraser said after pulling Madho to safety, he heard something like the honking of a horn. On hearing this, a woman also at the scene asked if there were other passengers in the car.
"He started calling out the names of the guys in the car and numbers of their families, who to call, but by then it was to late. The entire car was engulfed. We could not rescue them," Fraser said.
Fire officers who responded to the incident were able to extinguish the fire.
Villagers blamed the accident on a "bad drive" from another driver.
Ragoo's eldest sister Steffie Sinanan, 26, told the Sunday Guardian her brother was the baby of the family, explaining he was the youngest child and only son.
An emotional Sinanan pleaded with drivers to be more cautious and considerate to others on the road.
"People have to be more careful and stop drinking and driving," she said.
She said she last spoke to her brother around 7 pm on Friday. At the time, he told her he was waiting on Madho to pick him up to go to Chaguanas.
"Kesav would go out with his friends but he was not into drinking and partying heavily."
Sinanan said last Monday Ragoo survived an accident near the Seeram Brothers Ltd, Chase Village, a short distance from where he died yesterday. That accident claimed the life of La Barrie, who was a member of the T&T Regiment. La Barrie was buried on Friday.
Sinanan said Ragoo's van was damaged by the car driven by the 16 year-old boy who was charged in that incident, but he walked away without any injuries.
Ragoo was a student at the Metal Industry Company, Point-a-Pierre, and was two months away from graduating. One of his classmates and friend, Kaleem Mohammed, described him as a cheerful and happy person.
"He always knew how to make everyone laugh. I was looking forward to celebrating my birthday with him on Sunday," Mohammed said.
The Ramdial family asked that the media respect their right to mourn in private yesterday.
The Sunday Guardian understands Ramdial was also the only son to his parents and the youngest of his siblings. He was self employed
Minister of the People and Social Development and MP for the area, Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, visited both families during a walkabout in the community yesterday and expressed his condolences.
"We have lost two very bright and promising young men in the community," Ramadharsingh said.
Ramadharsingh pledged the full support of his ministry to both families, saying counseling and funeral grants would be made available if needed.
In a separate accident in Manzanilla, Kevin Forde, 28, was killed when the Hyundai Matrix he was a passenger in ran off the Manzanilla/ Mayaro Road around 7 pm on Friday.
Police reports state that the driver of the Matrix attempted to overtake another vehicle along the road when a tyre blew out. He lost control of the vehicle, which overturned and hit a coconut tree. Forde was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and two other occupants, whose identities are still unknown, were taken to Sangre Grande Hospital where they were warded yesterday