McKenzie, Bartlett appeal to motorists to drive carefully after 3 family members killed in crash

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) Assistant Commissioner of Police Gary McKenzie, has attributed the disobedience of a traffic light signal to the crash which left three female members of an American family dead during the wee hours on Sunday.

The three sustained multiple injuries from the impact of a motor vehicle collision along the Ironshore roadway. A male member of the family was also injured during the crash.

The deceased, all of Florida addresses, have been identified as 59-year-old airline hostess Sandra Lee; her daughter 25-year-old real estate agent Savanna Lee; and their cousin, 55-year-old nurse Donna Brown.

“What I have to say is that preliminary information, and certainly based on the fact that the intersection is controlled by traffic lights, it is quite clear that someone disobeyed the traffic light and this disobedience of the traffic light resulted in the death of three people,” ACP McKenzie stated.

According to ACP McKenzie, about 12:20 am the mother, daughter and their cousin were passengers in the back seat of a Toyota motor car which was travelling along the Ironshore highway when, on reaching the stop light at the intersection of Morgan’s Road, the vehicle proceeded to turn right. The car slammed into a utility pole after it was hit by an oncoming Subaru motor car.

The three occupants in the rear seat of the Toyota were thrown out and sustained head injuries. A 57-year-old man who was seated in the front passenger seat also sustained serious injuries.

They were rushed to Cornwall Regional Hospital where the daughter and the cousin were pronounced dead on arrival while the mother succumbed to her injuries while being treated.

The driver of the Subaru reportedly escaped physical injuries.

ACP McKenzie noted that the police, who have commenced their investigation into the crash, “will be looking at a number of things” in their probe.

“Certainly, we are trying to ascertain if there were any witnesses. That intersection should have some cameras so we will be looking at that as well. Also, we will be carrying out interviews of the driver and any other passengers to concretise the information that we have,” ACP McKenzie said.

The three deaths arising from Sunday morning’s accident pushed the tally of road fatalities to 317 since the start of the year, which is nine fewer than the 308 recorded over the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said he has reached out to family members of the deceased.

“The Tourism Destination team has been working with them, with the hospital, and the police and everybody to ensure that the families can be contacted in the smoothest-possible facilitation in this difficult moment. My heart reaches out to the families who are Jamaicans, out of Florida. As a matter of fact, I spoke to some of the relatives this [yesterday] morning; they are people who we know and they are connected to families here in Jamaica,” Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer.

ACP McKenzie also expressed condolence to the grieving families.

“I want to say, on behalf of the commissioner of police and the entire police force, how regretful we are for this crash and we express our condolence to the families and friends of these persons. It is something that we are extremely concerned about but as a police force we will continue to do our best to protect everyone that traverses the roadway,” the senior cop said.

And Bartlett, who made an appeal to motorists to drive carefully along the Ironshore corridor, indicated that he will be making contact with the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the National Works Agency to introduce speed-reduction features along that stretch of road.

“It is not that the police have not been carrying out enforcement. This particular stretch of roadway, a number of speeding exercises have been conducted on a daily basis, traffic tickets issued, but we continue to find persons flouting the law,” ACP McKenzie bemoaned.

He said is eagerly anticipating the introduction of the new Road Traffic Act which will enable the suspension of licences of drivers who have accumulated multiple tickets.

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