Stabroek News:– A seven-year-old girl was killed yesterday after she was struck by a truck along the Agricola public road, resulting in her body being cut in half.
Traffic along the East Bank corridor slowed to a crawl for several hours yesterday following the horrific accident that claimed the life of Ciarra Benjamin.
The truck driver was later severely beaten by members of the public at the scene and his truck was torched.
The accident occurred around 4 pm.
Benjamin was attempting to cross the public road in the company of her aunt and babysitter, Simone Barry, when she was struck by the truck, which bore licence plate GWW 962.
According to some bystanders, the pair were standing on the median when the truck, which was travelling at a fast rate along the western carriageway of the road, swerved to avoid a car and hit Benjamin.
Others, however, suggested that the child had stepped onto the road but quickly ran back to the median after she saw the truck.
Benjamin’s body was severed by the impact. The lower half of her body was crushed underneath the front of the truck, which was positioned lengthwise on the median.
This newspaper was told that the driver, who up to press time was not named, attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by public-spirited citizens, who brutalised him before the police intervened.
A video seen by Stabroek News showed the driver sitting in the cab of the truck while at least one person dealt him blows about his body with a steel pipe.
Police at the scene told Stabroek News that the “flogging” which the driver received necessitated treatment and he was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he remained under guard last night.
Meanwhile, the already slow traffic trickled to a crawl just before 6 pm after the truck erupted in flames. It is not clear what caused the fire but officers at the scene speculated that the fire was the result of arson. “Our investigation should give us a clearer idea but it seems someone in the environs started the fire,” Officers noted as onlookers cheered the destruction of the vehicle,
Due to the traffic build up, it was more than an hour before members of the Guyana Fire Service, with a police escort, were able to put out the flames.
The dozen police officers who had been dispatched to the scene to assist with crowd control and traffic management found themselves facing a barrage of issues as criminal elements took the opportunity provided by the upheaval to rob commuters who were struck in the traffic jam.
Stabroek News received several reports of persons accosting passengers and relieving them of valuables as the traffic jam persisted. One report made to the police in the presence of this newspaper was that a young woman who was walking along the public road had her purse snatched by someone on a motorcycle.
Her mother, Chrisan Thegg, who learned of her daughter’s passing via social media was inconsolable. Her employer told this newspaper that she was unaware that her daughter had left their home at Kitty.