death on the highway: The two vehicles involved in the accident yesterday in which Melissa Brusco, 38, and her friend Sylbert James, 66, died. Brusco’s 11-year-old daughter Joyanna was injured and hospitalised. —Photos: CURTIS CHASE

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Cops call on motorists to observe road laws as two die in Christmas Eve crash

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

THERE will be no Christmas celebrations for at least three families today after three of their loved ones were killed in two separate traffic accidents yesterday morning.

Three others were also injured in the crash that claimed the lives of Melissa Brus­co, 38, and her friend, Sylbert James, 66, at the Southern Main Road and Churchill-Roosevelt Highway intersection in Curepe.

Among those hospitalised last night was Brusco’s 11-year-old daughter, Joyanna, a pupil of Tunapuna Government Primary School, who was also in the vehicle with Brus­co and James.

The third person to be killed was 17-year-old Kevin Ganese after he jumped from a truck along Juniper Street in Morvant, hitting his head on the ground. 

For the year so far, 158 people have been killed in vehicular accidents, as compared to 190 for 2012.

Brusco and James were killed instantly around 8.30 a.m. after a blue Audi motorcar crashed into James’s vehicle as he was attempting to make his way across the highway onto Southern Main Road, police reported. At the time, James was transporting Brus­co to her place of employment in Chaguanas.

Officers reported James, who lived at Maracas, St Joseph, was attempting to cross the highway to enter Southern Main Road, when the Audi, driven by Leslie Rambaran, crashed into the left side of his car.

Rambaran and her daughter, Laura, who was also in the vehicle at the time, sustained injuries and were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, police said.

Speaking yesterday at her home at Dhanoolal Street, Maracas, St Joseph, Brusco’s sister, Millie Brusco, said her sister was a mother of four.

She said the last time she spoke to Melissa was on Monday night when she (Melissa) paid her a visit to collect some pastelles. She said it was only earlier this month that Melissa began renting an apartment in Arima.

“I am her older sister. She was the ninth of ten children and I remember when we were small how she never wanted to go to school. I used to have to put her on my back and carry her to school for her to go,” said the weeping woman.

Millie said her sister had been friends with James for many years and he used to pick her up at home and drop her off at work.

“She was always a real busy person. She was always working. She was very nice, very cool and used to get along with everybody,” she said. Now with her death, Millie said she would not be able to celebrate Christmas as she had planned.

She also spoke highly of James, describing him as “a real cool and nice person”.

The woman said she was unaware of her niece’s condition at hospital, as she did not have the opportunity to visit her up to yesterday afternoon.

In the other incident, Ganese, a sanitation worker, died after jumping from the tray of a Bedford truck after the truck’s braking system failed.

It was around 7 a.m. that the driver was steering the vehicle along Juniper Street, when it began to sway, said investigators.

Ganese, along with another man who was in the tray of the truck, decided to jump to safety before Ganese hit his head and died at the scene.

The truck later veered off the roadway and crashed into a ditch. The driver and the other man were taken to Port of Spain General Hospital, where they were both treated and discharged, said officers.

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