For the Ramjit family, flooding is a yearly occurrence, an unwanted Christmas of sorts.
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As 3 killed, families plead: Stop the drinking, driving
Stop the drinking and driving! This was the emotional plea of grieving relatives of the three co-workers who were burnt in a car crash in Debe yesterday morning, after a night out drinking. Loren Lochan, 24; Rick Nash, 45, both of Reform Village, Gasparillo; and Reynold Manoo, 43, of Garth Road, Williamsville, were burnt beyond recognition. They worked at Trinrico Steel and Wire Products Ltd at Reform Village. Police said the accident took place around 3 am near Fun Splash, along the M2 Ring Road, Debe.
Police believe Nash, the driver, lost control and crashed into a lamp post. The car burst into flames. Lochan was seated in the front, while Manoo was in the back. It is not certain whether they died from injuries, smoke inhalation, or from the burns. Autopsies are expected to be performed on the bodies at the Forensic Science Centre, Port-of-Spain, tomorrow.
‘I begged her not to go’
At Lochan’s home, her mother Chandanie Boodlal said her daughter was accustomed to drinking and liming. She said she spoke to her on many occasions, but she never listened. In fact, she said she pleaded with Lochan not to go anywhere on Friday. “She start to quarrel and say we don’t want her go nowhere. She say her friends waiting for she by the bar.” She left around 3.30 pm.
When her daughter did not come home around 3 am (the time she usually got home after liming) and did not answer calls to her phone at the time, Boodlal was not worried. “When she liming she doesn’t answer her phone.”
Two hours later, the police were at her door telling her Lochan had burnt to death in a car crash. Boodlal said she recognised her daughter by the gold teeth in her mouth. Lochan, a machine operator, had told her mother she was going to stop drinking and save her money to go for holidays abroad. “But, it too late now. People have to stop this drinking and driving,” the mother said.
However, Lochan’s friend Malina Singh said she spoke to her around 1.30 am. Lochan told her she attended the funeral of teacher Avianna Ramraj-Karim, went liming, and was heading home after dropping off a friend in Penal.
‘He did not want to listen’
A short distance away at Nash’s home, his sister Annmarie Dowry said her brother lived alone, but every Christmas, she and her children would stay by him. When he left on Friday evening, Dowry said she could tell he had been drinking. “All he say is ‘ah gone again’, and he left.” She said her eldest daughter, 27, always spoke to Nash about drinking and driving, but he never listened. “This is a lesson for people. It is not right, stop drinking and driving. It have too much accidents on the road.”
‘He wanted to change his life’
Manoo’s girlfriend of 15 years, Angela La Fortune said he was a nice person, but she was “fed up” of talking to him about the drinking. Last week, however, she said, “He tell me he want to change and baptise, and give his life to Jesus. I tell him whenever he ready, make the first move.” As she tries to cope with her loss, La Fortune called on people to wake up. “Things happen in the twinkle of an eye. You don’t know when the master will take you. Drinking and driving is not a nice thing.” Manoo was the father of a 13-year-old boy.
Councillor: Alcohol destroying too many lives
Councillor for Reform/Manahambre Ramesh Karapan, who visited the families of Lochan and Nash, said alcohol was destroying too many lives. Expressing his condolences to the three families, Karapan said, “I want to appeal to drivers to slow down. Stop drinking and driving. We are losing too many lives.” Meanwhile, San Fernando police arrested and charged seven drivers in Golconda for driving under influence.