A 16-year-old, Darlingboy Philips, dubbed ‘Dad’ was crushed to death when he accidentally fell from a low-belt truck this past Saturday, amid rejoicing over Grand Bassa County’s triumph in the National County Meet after 24 years of title-drought.
The truck, with the inscription ‘Grand Bassa County Development Fund,’ rolled over the lad and crushed his chest and smashed his skull near the entrance of the Doris Williams Sports Stadium.
He had slipped while he and friends were hanging on the vehicle’s tail-end after the program when the car was leaving the Doris Williams Sports Stadium.
That celebration in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, marked the official celebration of the county’s two trophies won in the 2013/2014 National County Meet.
The teenager’s accidental death was linked to connection of ‘neejee’ activities.
In Liberia ‘neejee,’ is usually interpreted as witchery and is always generally associated with the people of Grand Bassa County.
The Traffic Coordinator of the Grand Bassa Police Detachment, Inspector Stephen B. Kpoeh, told the Daily Observer Sunday morning that Darlingboy died instantly after he was run over by the truck on Saturday. He had been pronounced dead after he was rushed to the Liberian Government Hospital in Buchanan.
Inspector Kpoen said the truck driver, Samuel Barlingar, 48, has been investigated and is being detained by Police to avoid ‘unnecessary’ mob violence.
He disclosed that from the preliminary investigations, Driver Barlingar is not guilty, in accordance with Section 10.107 of the Police’s Traffic Law of Liberia; the late Darlingboy was hitching a ride without the driver’s knowledge.
Section 10.107 of the Police Traffic Law, under the subtitle Soliciting Rides, reads: “No person shall stand on any roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride and from the driver of any vehicle.”
The Chief of Traffic of Grand Bassa Police Detachment, Inspector Allen Suah, told the Daily Observer, that after a conference with Grand Bassa’s Superintendent Etweda Cooper, they instructed the family to bury the body yesterday (Sunday), because the county is not responsible for the boy’s death and burial. They promised to send a representative to meet with the family afterwards.
The late Darlingboy was laid to rest the day after his death (Sunday) due to his severe injuries.
The deceased was a 3rd grade student of Lower Hardlandsville Public School and was helping to support his family through the sale of used clothes.
Darlingboy was the oldest of four sons from his parents, who are both alive. He was living with his uncle, Alphonso Philips, in Jeko’s Town, Buchanan. His parents are Timothy and Sundaymae Philips, and they are living in the interior with the deceased’s brothers.
Mr. Robert Guah, a relative of the late Darlingboy expressed disappointment and frustration over the absence of county authorities and members of the Grand Bassa Legislative Caucus, up to the time of burial.
Meanwhile, friends from Jeko’s Town have expressed their condolences to the bereaved family; they urged the family to investigate the death of Darlingboy, which they described as mysterious.
“How come out of ten people hanging from the truck, he alone fell and was killed instantly? There must be something behind it,” a man only identified as Nyensuah stated.
According to Nyensuah, about three weeks ago, one Ben Roberts met a similarly mysterious death. “We think that it is not normal; there must be witch or neeje activities behind them; we know it is all happening because elections are around the corner,” Nyensuah lamented.