A female British national and a top local chef have been killed In Trinidad and Tobago and two others seriously injured after a car ploughed into a group of cyclists along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway early Saturday.
The deceased were identified as Joanna Banks, 40, who died at the scene and Joe Brown, a chef at the popular Jaffa at the Oval restaurant, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
Details are sketchy but reports suggest the female cyclist may have drowned after she was thrown into a ditch at the side of the highway after a car ran into a group of about 14 cyclists heading east opposite the Beetham Landfill.
Beetham residents who came out to assist the crash victims did not initially see Banks, a bpTT employee, because the ditch is also full of water and overgrown with tall grass. In fact, her teammates were giving most of their attention to Brown, who appeared to be the most seriously injured, until someone spotted her body and two of her teammates pulled her out of the ditch.
Driver Junior McIntyre told police he got a flat tyre, causing him to lose control of his Kia Spectra and run off the roadway into the cyclists. One of the cyclists said he heard a screeching noise before the car hit the group and tossed many of them into the nearby ditch.
Dr Ajit Kuruvilla and Adelino Perreira were also taken to hospital with injuries.
The deceased were members of the Slipstream Cycling Club, of Port-of-Spain, who were heading out on their usual Saturday morning training ride to east Trinidad after leaving the Queen’s Park Oval around 6.15 am.
The accident caused a huge traffic pile-up along the eastbound lane of the highway as the police prevented traffic from going ahead past the crash site while paramedics attended to the injured.