05 February, 2013

Sunday Morning Coming Down

With apologies to Kris Kristofferson. It seemed like as good a title for this as any other.

The following is based on a verbatim transcript of the Corozal Police report  of a head-on collision that occurred almost in front of our house. The report was obtained by Lincoln Eiley, Corozal's erstwhile reporter and editor of Corozal Daily (...Sometimes), an email compendium of stuff of interest to Corozaleños. It usually includes crime reports and other news. I lifted it from his email and modified it to include my comments and the action from my perspective, as I was the initial responder to the scene and made the first phone call to 911 to report the accident.

I'll start the story off with the initial bit from the police report. Then comes our story (from my perspective only, of course). Then, the rest of the police report, which is as confusing as it is interesting and informative - as most written news items seem to be down here. Always entertaining and never dull.
Corozal - On February 3rd, 2013 about 1:55 A.M., Corozal Police visited the Pueblo Nuevo Road (Ferry Road) Corozal District where on arrival, a maroon in color Ford Pickup truck, extended Cab, LP CZL-C17308 was seen on the left hand side of the road when traveling from the direction of the ferry towards Corozal Town with extensive damages to the front portion facing same direction and a white F250 Ford Pickup LP CZL-C02707 was seen touching the next truck on the right hand side of the road facing a southwest direction with extensive damages to the front portion, when traveling from the ferry towards Corozal Town.
Late Night Head-On Crash
That's more or less accurate. The accident occurred about then. My first indication that there was something happening was that I heard a rather loud crash. It turns out it wasn't that loud, as it didn't wake Dianna. I was already awake and had been going through some of our thousands of photos, trying out a new piece of software that captures and removes duplicate photographs from your  computer files.

My initial thought was that, from the sound of it, someone had hit a tree or post. I ran out to our back porch, which faces the street, and saw what appeared to be two vehicles both in the middle of the road. I could hear people moaning and crying. I hollered down asking if anyone was badly injured. As might be expected, I got no answer. I ran back into the house and grabbed my phone and flashlight and headed down the stairs. When I got to the landing, I remembered I needed my keys, to be able to open and close the gate with the remote, so I ran back up into the house and retrieved those.

Out in the street, I walked toward the scene. As soon as the vehicle occupants saw my light, they all started limping toward me and asking all sorts of strange questions. It seriously reminded me of a scene out of Night of the Living Dead, the way they were limping toward me.

About this time, I called 911 and let them know there had been a multiple injury, head-on collision on our road and that we needed an ambulance. I gave them the approximate location.

Usually, we have a hard time getting people to understand just where we live as the road is known by several different names. Our official address is 29 'A' Street, South, Corozal. But, no one knows that 'A' Street goes that far south. We usually call it the Copper Bank Ferry Road down past Tony's (hotel and resort). I have tried using Pueblo Nuevo Road as well. Few know that name either. I used the Copper Bank Ferry Road with the 911 call taker.

They said ok and that they would get an ambulance on its way. That was it. They asked no other questions regarding injuries or location, so I hung up, fully expecting to get a subsequent phone call with questions about the location.

I realized this was a fairly serious situation and that most of the people were injured, so I immediately began doing sort of a triage affair as I waded into the crowd.

Most had abrasions and contusions. There were a couple with fairly good cuts and some minor eviserations where it looked like they had made contact with sharp metal and had skin and flesh gouged out. One girl was on the ground, sitting in a sizable rain-water puddle beside the road. She had a either a compound fracture of the left ankle or a severe dislocation, as the bone wasn't broken, but the lower end of the tibia, the larger lower leg bone was definitely exposed.

Incidentally, I did smell alcohol on the breath of several of the people as they talked to me. They pointedly told me that the driver of the south-bound vehicle was drunk, as though they were all pristine, so I didn't pay a whole bunch of attention to that at the time.

I noticed that the accident, instead of being into a post, involved two pickup trucks that had collided head-on. And they were locked together big time.

The driver of the north-bound pickup, a young man, told me that he didn't want to have the police contacted as his license had expired on January 15th. He asked me if I could get the drunk guy to back his truck up, so that he could leave. It was a good thing the trucks were locked together so that no one could drive off.

I grabbed one member of the group who seemed to be less injured and he and I tried to gently pull the girl out of the puddle. It was then evident that she was in a great deal of pain, so after a slight movement, I decided to leave her as she was. The water wasn't going to cause her any more problems than it had already. I finally got her convinced that she wasn't going to die, as she had been loudly crying that since I arrived.

About then, I saw Vivien and Denis, our neighbors across the street arriving on scene. Vivien is an RN with Alberta Health Services. I think that's what it is, so it was great to have someone on scene who really knew what was what. And she looked so cute with these large yellow dish-washing gloves on.

She'd grabbed those as she left the house so she could work on victims as needed without fear of body fluid contamination. I had not thought of gloves or anything other than my light, keys and phone, but I had also been pretty careful to not touch bloody clothing or wounds. I didn't have anything to bind anyone with anyway. Besides, it appeared to me that shock had set in with everyone and the wounds looked to be pretty much blood-free. There was a fair amount of blood-soaked clothing, but as I looked at wounds, very little blood. A good thing. No arterial bleeding - even with the compound fracture on the girl who  had been 'dying'.

Vivien began getting people doing the right things. She had brought a few pads and stuff down with her, so that looked pretty official, if nothing else.

At about that time, Vivien asked if we had anything to use as a splint for the girl with the fracture. Denis and I hotfooted it back to my place, where we found a roll of plastic Visqueen that I had used as a painting drop-cloth. That and some nylon cordage that I had seemed like it would make a great improvised splint. Dianna asked if we needed any blankets, but it seemed like everyone was doing relatively well and blankets weren't needed. Probably just as well. They'd have gotten covered with mud and we probably would have never seen them again. We then headed back to Vivien.

Several of the people who I had initially talked to, began to get themselves excited about the drunk guy, so I could see that it wouldn't take much for thet the situation to get  out of hand.

Thankfully, the ambulance arrived on scene, which was a stabilizing factor in itself. Their response with the victims, not so much, at least by standards we were used to. But, they had arrived on scene in a timely manner and began loading the more severely wounded into the ambulance. They placed the girl with the fracture on a backboard, no assessment, no strapping. She was sitting on the backboard and they hauled it to the ambulance.

If my sense of time was anywhere close, I estimate that it took the ambulance about five to ten minutes after my call to arrive on scene, which is pretty swift for this area, the fact that it was late and night, and location directions under the best circumstances are sketchy.

I took a moment then to call 911 again, to ask them to send police, as none had arrived yet, and I was concerned about the excitability of the group. They advised that they had dispatched a unit and that they should be arriving soon. As I looked up the road right then, I could see the police arriving, flashing lights and all. So, probably within fifteen minutes, more or less, the ambulance and police responders had arrived on scene.

Shortly after the police arrived, we figured our services were no longer needed. We announced to one and all that "Our work here is done". We let the police and ambulance crew know that we were leaving and told them we lived just down the road, pointing toward the gate and porch lights. So, we headed home to resume our slumbers... sort of.

After the ambulance departed, activity went on all the rest of the night. The police stayed on scene for about an hour after the ambulance had departed for Corozal Hospital. There were vehicles coming and going. Friends of the injured stopping to offer help and advice, etc.

In fact, it wasn't until about 9:30 AM, the following morning that both trucks were finally towed off. One truck, being towed by a friend's pickup, headed toward the ferry landing. The other, towed away by a dump truck. They had had to remove the wheels on the front end of that pickup, as they couldn't lift it enough with the dump truck for the badly damaged front end to clear the ground and be towed.

As soon as the dump truck went away, the rest of the friends who had stopped to help and gawk, also left. As exciting as that whole thing had been, it was nice for things  to settle down and get back to normal.

Ok, now back to the official police report. I did take the liberty to break the thing up into a few more paragraphs and added some punctuation, and clarifying words as necessary, all for readability.
Initial investigation reveals that about 1:50 A.M. on February 3rd, 2013 whilst a maroon Ford Pickup LP CZL-C17308 driven at the time by Ivanir Patt, 21-year old Belizean bar tender of Chunox (Pronounced Shoo-noosh) Village, accompanied by Eber Santoya, 24-year old Belizean farmer from Chunox Village, (2) Abisai Tun, 16-year old Belizean student of Chunox Village,(3) Felix Copo, 23-year old Belizean lab tech of Chunox Village, (4) Julia Pinelo, 33-year old Belizean domestic of Copper Bank Village, were travelling inside the extra/extended cab, (5) Edwany Ramos, 18-year old Belizean student of Chunox Village, (6) Andres Ramos, 23-year old Belizean fruit Vendor of Chunox Village, were seated in the truck pan and traveling from the direction of Chunox Village to Corozal Town.

Upon reaching and passing the ferry of Pueblo Nuevo Road, a white in color Ford F250 Pickup, LP CZL-C02707, driven at the time by Alvaro Babb, 35-year old Belizean fisherman of Chunox Village, Corozal District, was traveling from the direction of Corozal Town to Chunox Village, and drove on their lane and collided onto the front portion of the maroon Ford truck, pushing it to the opposite lane on the left side.

Ivanir Patt complained of pain on both shoulders and his waist. Eber Santoya complained of pain on the left foot and head. Abisai Tun complained of pain on the right knee and cut wound and abrasion on the left hand. Felix Copo complained of pain to the ribs, head , cut wound on the right hand and abrasions on the right foot. Edwany Ramos received abrasions to the right hand, left knee and complained of pain to the left side of the head, back and neck. Andres Ramos received bruises to right and left hands, cut wound to the right eye and abrasions to the left knee. Julia Pinelo received an exposed fracture on the left foot.

Sketch plan drawn and measurements taken, Medical Forms issued to all injured persons. Medical Officer (MO) certified injuries to Ivanir Patt as Harm; injuries to Eber Santoya as wounding; injuries to Abisai Tun as wounding; injuries to Felix Copo as wounding; injuries to Edwany Ramos as harm; and injuries to Andres Ramos as harm. Julia Pinelo was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City, in a stable condition. Alvaro Babb seems to have been under the influence of alcohol and a sample of blood was obtained.
I'm not sure what 'harm' injuries and 'wounding' injuries are. I'm guessing 'harm' injuries are worse.


JRinSC said...

Wow... that's closer to a real wreck than I ever want to find myself. Thank goodness no one was hurt worse and you found yourself really in a tough situation.

BTW.. was the man whom they took a blood sample the one the others accused of being drunk?

Here's to less interesting times!


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

Especially at two-in-the-morning.

Yes, the one who gave the blood sample was the driver of the white, southbound truck. He definitely was drunk.

If it had been up to me, I probably would have taken a sample from the other driver... but, what do I know?

Enough late night excitement, for sure.


Mr. Pancho said...

I stumbled across your blog about 4 weeks ago and I've gotten quite addicted to it. Now you've got me worried since you havn't posted anything for quite some time. Hope all is well. I'm going to assume that you came to Kansas City for a visit and just cant get enough snow ice cream made from the 12 inches of snow that fell yesterday!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Unknown,

I'm glad you find the blog of value. I'll be posting more in a day or two - have a couple of adventures to relate.

Feel free to keep all the snow, with my compliments.


Mr. Pancho said...

Dave, this is the one formerly known as 'unknown' now known as Mr. Pancho, a name that I got years ago from a dear family in Orange Walk district.

Thanks for letting me keep the snow although I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the additional 8-15 inches coming tonight, are you sure you couldn't use it poolside? I'll pack it up if you'll pay the freight to get it there...

Yes, I have learned so much from your postings dating back to 2007. My wife and I are purchasing some land just north of Corozal with the hopes of retirement there sometime. Please keep up the wonderful postings. I look forward to breathing the same air as you in April '13.

Dave Rider said...

Hi Mr. Pancho,

You know, if you could include flavorings, there's several old men who pedal tricycles around town selling shave-ice who'd be interested in cooking... er, cooling up a deal with you for all that cold stuff.
Other than that, I don't know that we'd get much use of it here. We don't even have a gnarly-enough hill to use as a snowboard run. Besides, it would probably turn to slush way too fast. Sorry.
I'm glad you enjoy the postings. Seems like there's never a shortage of topics. Retirement is the best thing we ever did - sooner is better too.