Liberia: 2 Die in Motorbike Accident

-- Onlookers blame police over failure to enforce regulations

Two of the four persons on a motorbike were killed in a tragic accident late Tuesday, July 9, in the Tusa Field Road Community in Gardnersville, a suburb of Monrovia.

The motorcyclists, Musa Kamara and Andrew Jallah, ages 17 and 18, respectively, smashed their heads open on the newly constructed road, a situation that drew lots of onlookers. Some were crying over the deaths of the two boys, describing them as "bread winners" for their families.

Amos Freeman and Melvin Coleman, ages 16 and 27, were the two lucky survivors, but they sustained injuries of various degrees.

According to eyewitnesses, a water company truck was parked in the lane of the motorists in the curve, while another truck was coming from the other lane. In the process of dodging the parked truck, and avoiding the on-coming truck, the motorcyclist lost control of the handlebars, resulting in the accident. The situation was so terrible that both the rider and the passenger died, while two other passengers narrowly survived.

Coleman, one of the survivors, said: "I was playing checkers when Musa, a mechanic who was [driving] the motorbike, came for me to go for a ride in the Barnesville Estate. While on our way around the U-Curve Community, there was a truck parked, and another was coming towards us. Something just overcame me, and I jumped from the motorcycle. So did Amos, and that is how I think God saved our lives from death."

Amos could not talk to journalists, due to the extent of the wounds he sustained.

Scores of eyewitnesses blame the police for the deaths of the two boys, "because the officers failed to regulate the "passengers' rules" allowing at most two persons to ride on a bike, including the rider, and mandating that they must wear helmets.

An eyewitness, Joseph Weiah, said if these rules had been enforced, the boys would not have died.

"Their heads would not have burst on the road if they had helmets, and were at most two on the bike," the bystander remarked.

"The road construction is good, but it will cause many accidental deaths if the police fail to regulate motorbike and vehicle operators. The motorbike riders and some of the drivers are taking advantage of the new road to go with excessive speed. At least two on a bike with helmet, and in vehicles, with seat belt," Weiah recommended.

Elijah Toe, another eyewitness, added: "Why should four persons be on a bike? What are the police doing in terms of preventing some of these accidents?" The police need to restrict passengers on motorbikes. The rider and a passenger are enough."

Shortly after the police arrived on the scene, they took the two bodies to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital mortuary.

"Their deaths are regrettable. We are carrying the bodies to the JFK to be deposited, and we will contact the families to identify the bodies and subsequently takeover thereafter," a police officer who asked to remain anonymous said.

The officers promised to address concerns the residents raised. The Tusa Field Road is one of the pro-poor agenda road projects currently under construction.

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