Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Celebration lime ends in tragedy

2 dead; drunk driver blamed


From left: KILLED: Katemati Rampersad, KILLED: Hassim Ramjohn

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STILL IN SHOCK: Jagdeo Rampersad, right, husband of accident victim Katemati Rampersad, with relatives at his Felicity home yesterday. –Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

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Instead, family members spent the day planning Ramjohn's funeral, which will most likely take place on New Year's Day.

Ramjohn was one of two people killed in a vehicular accident last Friday night.

A few hours of celebration with family members ended in tragedy for two families and not even a seatbelt could have saved Ramjohn.

A drunken driver is being blamed for the deaths.

The accident took place just before the Chase Village Flyover on the north-bound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway at around 10.30 p.m.

Ramjohn, 52, died at the scene and his wife's cousin, Katemati Ramper-sad, 59, died of her injuries at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope yesterday around 3 a.m.

Ramjohn worked as a gatekeeper at the Ministry of Works office in Chaguanas and Rampersad was a housewife.

Ramjohn lived at Boundary Street, Felicity, Chaguanas, and Rampersad lived a five-minute walk away from Ramjohn.

Both were passengers in Katemati's husband vehicle, a Toyota Corolla.

Jagdeo Rampersad, Katemati's husband, was the driver.

Ramjohn's wife, Claire Jewnath, and another relative were also passengers.

Rampersad was not injured in the fatal accident. Yesterday at his home at Felicity, Rampersad spoke about the accident to the Sunday Express.

He said the passengers in his vehicle attended a birthday party at Petrotrin's Sports Club in Pointe-a-Pierre and were returning home around 10.30 p.m.

On approaching the Chase Village Flyover, he was hit from behind on the left side by a four-door Ford Ranger and the car slammed into a nearby lamppost after spinning out of control.

Ramjohn was seated in the front passenger seat and Katemati, a mother of two teenage children, was sitting behind Ramjohn.

Ramjohn's hand was severed in the accident.

Rampersad said after the accident happened, he got help from other motorists.

He said the police, ambulance, and fire officers arrived at the scene soon after.

The victims were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex for treatment in separate ambulances and he was taken to the Chaguanas District Health Facility to be treated, he said.

Even though he is still in shock that he survived the accident without any injuries, Rampersad said nothing will be able to make up for the loss of his wife of 38 years and the driver of the Ford Ranger should be punished.

Police reports are that the driver failed a breathalyser test and admitted to being intoxicated.

Rampersad said, "Something has to be done with people like that."

Neil Ramnarine, Ramjohn's stepson, said Rampersad is a person who "does not drink, he does not smoke and his speed is 50". Ramnarine said his mother Claire Jewnath was resting at home yesterday.

She was seated in the middle of the vehicle and was protected by the other two women, he said.

Jewnath visited a private medical practitioner yesterday morning and she was physically well, Ramnarine said.

Ramnarine said his stepfather became a father to him after his biological father left the family when Ramnarine was a baby. Ramjohn was the father of three and stepfather of five.

Rampersad's funeral is also expected to take place later this week.

Autopsies on both bodies are expected to be conducted tomorrow.

Both families were visited by Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar.