BANDAGED: Aziz Mohammed assists his daughter Cassieann with her bandage at the entrance of the Accident and Emergency Department of the San Fernando General Hospital. Cassieann, a pupil of ASJA Girls’ College, was among pupils who were passengers in a maxi-taxi that was hit by a truck on South Trunk Road, La Romaine, yesterday. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

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Pupils hurt as truck hits maxi

Boy, 17, critical

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

A 17-YEAR-old boy was in critical condition at hospital yesterday after the maxi-taxi in which he and other children were travelling was hit by a truck in La Romaine, near San Fernando. 

Varoon Doon, a Form Five pupil of ASJA Boys’ College in San Fernando, was said to have suffered head injuries upon impact. 

Doon has been kept in the Intensive Care Unit of the San Fernando General Hospital for a fractured skull. 

Hospital authorities said Doon was  taken to a private hospital for a CT scan yesterday. 

Police said 16 children were travelling in the 25-seater maxi-taxi driven by Vishnu Maharaj, who was taking them to their respective schools at ASJA Boys’ College, ASJA Girls’ College, Naparima Girls’ High School, Naparima College, University of the West Indies (South Campus), San Fernando West Secondary, San Fernando Secondary and Grant Memorial Presbyterian School. 

According to police, at around 6.45 a.m. the maxi-taxi was driving in a northerly direction when in the vicinity of Damus Ltd it was hit by a Nissan ten-wheeler dump truck. 

Maharaj told the media that traffic was at a crawl when he saw a truck coming towards the maxi-taxi. Maharaj said: “This man just came into me, I started to pull aside. The more I pulled to the left the more this truck came towards us. And there was no escape.” 

Crash victim Cassieann Mohammed, 14, a Form Three pupil of ASJA Girls’ College, said she was seated near a window on the right hand side of the maxi- taxi.

 “I was sitting almost to the back of the maxi. My friend and I were talking. I just heard the driver say ‘Where is this man going?’ and I looked out and saw a truck coming towards us. The driver pulled to the far left but we still got hit. The impact was near to where I was sitting. Mikey (Doon) was sitting right where the maxi got hit.  Some children started to scream. Mikey was knocked unconscious.” 

Emergency medical technicians tended to the schoolchildren at the scene, and they were taken to the San Fernando General Hospital for further treatment. 

Mohammed suffered a head injury, and received 15 stitches on her head. 

Brothers Veer, 14, and Vishnu Bachan, 18, of Naparima College, told the Express they both were treated for abrasions. 

Kajol Baal, a Form Five pupil of ASJA Girls College, was being treated at hospital for internal injuries. 

The driver’s daughter, Naya Maharaj, nine, a pupil of Grant Memorial Presbyterian School, was also hospitalised  for internal injuries, the Express was told. 

Most of the injured children received cuts, bruises and upper body injuries, and were discharged from hospital, police said. 

Police said the driver of the truck told them he was headed south along South Trunk Road when he began to skid after he applied brakes to avoid hitting a vehicle which was exiting Potato Trace. He was expected to give police a written statement on the crash yesterday. 

Cpl Ragbir of the San Fernando Traffic Division is continuing investigations.

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