Six Dead in Tragic Highway Collision in Bong

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The wreck of the taxi and the trailer

… including 5 businesswomen who went to Monrovia to procure ’26 Season’ goods

The tragic death of six persons in a motor accident along the Ganta – Gbarnga Highway on the night of Tuesday, July 14, around 8 p.m., led the Nimba County Superintendent, Nelson Korquoi, to declare a day of mourning in Ganta, including the closure of all business-related activities.

This tragic death brought sadness in the entire city, leaving all businesses, including banking institutions, closed down because most of those killed in the accident were all business people, who left for Monrovia to get their goods for the coming Independence Day (July 26) season.

According to an eyewitness, at about 8 p.m., a taxi with six persons (2 male and four female passengers) on board en route to Ganta from Monrovia, approaching the CHICO Camp, near Palala, when the taxi collided with a trailer carrying wood for a plywood factory in Kakata.

The collision resulted in the death of the six taxi passengers instantly, mutilating some of them beyond recognition.

Abraham Miller, whose car was ahead of the taxi from the accident, said he was running at about 100 miles per hour and, while climbing the hill, he saw the trailer coming dodging a mini-truck loaded with planks, parked along the highway.

“I came across the trailer, I held onto my car brakes to reduce the speed and managed to go to my right in order to avoid the trailer. But unfortunately, my colleague, who was very close to me tried to use the small space that was left between the trailer and my car,” he said.

He explained that at that moment the head of the trailer had already returned to its lane but the rear part, which was carrying a 40-feet container, was still on the opposite lane, trying to take his lane. Suddenly the car from behind collided with the rear part of the back, near the trailer’s differential, causing the trailer to drag the taxi several meters. The truck rested on the taxi, mangling it beyond repair.

The incident is just one of the many along the Monrovia-Ganta highway that has left more than 150 people dead over the past twelve months. Just last year, between January and October, 40 people are believed to have lost their lives on the Monrovia-Ganta highway, according to statistics collected by the Liberia National Police Bong County Detachment.

These reported deaths along the Monrovia-Ganta highway, according to the police, came as a result of over speeding by motorists in disregard of driving rules, including overtaking in a curve and over bridges.

Several of these incidents have resulted in more than 300 people being injured. In 2016, accidents along the Monrovia-Ganta highway between January and July 2016, led to the death of at least 53 people.  Prominent among them included Eddie Zomoway, a lecturer at Cuttington University, and his colleague, Dixon Wreah.

The Chinese company brought in their crane and lifted the trailer to retrieve the bodies from the wreck of the taxi.

The driver of the car is only identified as Augustine, but he is popularly known as “Ja Rule”, which is mostly used as the service name for his taxi. The passengers include Yeelea Gweh, who was a lappa dealer; Anita Guanbayee, who sold used clothes; Melvin Kainessie; a young lady from Yekepa and another unidentified woman. Melvin was buried on Wednesday, July 15.

Melvin Kainessie on of the victims of the tragic accident, was buried on Wednesday, July 15.

The situation brought Ganta to a standstill, where mourners and sympathizers gathered at the Gompa Funeral Home to pay homage to the victims and also to identify the deceased.

Commercial drivers during the COVID-19 lockdown period have been overcharging passengers for fares from Ganta to Monrovia to the tune of more than L$2,000 or more per person.

From some drivers’ observations, Ja Rule may have been running at the speed of 100 – 120 miles per since he was overtaking the other driver that was ahead. Despite warning that a taxi should carry not more than three persons, most of the taxis still remain defiant, with some still carrying between 4 to 6 passengers, and making more than two trips (between Ganta and Monrovia) per day.

Meanwhile, the drivers’ union, the Federation of Road Transport Union, headed by Prince Queeglay, have expressed their condolences to the bereaved families and urged every one of them to take courage in the Lord.

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