Frustration after Accident with 7-Ton Truck

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AZP News Commentary


By Neela Ramsundar

EARLIER this month, I witnessed the handling of events by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS)  and the Fire Service following a terrible accident along Madras Road, Cunupia.

A seven-ton dump truck had crashed along a section of the Madras Road in Cunupia, in an area where there were undulating hills.

Thankfully, the driver and passenger were not seriously injured. They stated the
accident occurred because they got a “bad drive” from a large vehicle heading in the opposite direction.

The damage to the truck was extensive. The fuel tank had punctured, so there was diesel leaking unto
the roadway and running down the hill from where the truck lay. A wrecker was needed to remove the
truck, as it could not be driven.

This accident occurred around 2 pm on a weekday afternoon, which is the approximate time that the afternoon rush of workers and school children trying to get home usually starts. It took approximately three hours for the truck to be towed away.

Within that three-hour window, an ambulance arrived to treat the driver and passenger, a TTPS SUV was
present and two fire tenders waited for the truck to be towed in order to clean up the spilled diesel on the road.

Everything sounds normal so far in terms of the response to the accident by the authorities, right?

Not so …

Traffic began backing up severely around 3.30 pm. The Madras Main Road had become impassable as the opposite lanes of traffic were stopped (by ordinary citizens) to accommodate the attempts by the wrecker to tow away the truck. This took quite some doing.

Many drivers were stuck in standstill traffic and they didn’t know why, because the hills prevented them from seeing there was an accident. One driver became so frustrated, I am told, she drove recklessly past the crashed truck and ended up colliding with two other vehicles a stone’s throw away.

The occupants of the TTPS SUV, which can be seen parked behind a firetruck, did not help anyone at the scene of the crashed truck. I don’t believe the officers ever alighted from their vehicle.

As far as I am aware, they did not make any attempt to assist with traffic management or call for assistance.

Why they were there, no one knows!

Eventually, even before the truck was towed away, with hundreds of frustrated drivers on the road, the TTPS SUV just drove away.

As if that wasn’t enough, after the truck was towed, the firemen started their clean-up operations of the spilled diesel.

To my amazement, after they waited for approximately one hour for the truck to be towed, the firemen spent about five to ten minutes pouring a white powder on the diesel, but only at the location where the truck had crashed, swept it then left.

The problem was that there was diesel running down the hill (and also up the hill from leakage caused by the truck being towed) for about 100 feet or more both ways.

But the fire service officers ignored those spills and drove away!

As a result, those poor frustrated drivers, previously stuck in scorching afternoon heat in un-moving traffic, not knowing any better, began driving on the spilled diesel on the road.

I nervously witnessed several of them skidding, sometimes uncontrollably. I prayed before I left the area that no one else got into an accident that day because of the diesel on the road.

I am happy that all the authorities that you would expect to appear at an accident of that calibre showed up that day.

At the same time, I am truly disappointed the TTPS did not lend a helping hand at all and the seemingly inadequate clean-up operations performed by the fire officers. Isn’t it about time we be a bit more patriotic in our besieged little country and show more care?

Be safe T&T.

Copyright © 2023 Neela Ramsundar, LLB (HONS), LEC is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law and Certified Mediator.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only and/or contain the opinions and/or thoughts of the writer only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. For legal advice on your specific situation, please contact an attorney of your choosing directly. Liability for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever allegedly incurred a consequence of relying on content in this article is thus hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.


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