Driver crushed to death by truck
Front Page
January 20, 2006

Driver crushed to death by truck

Witnessing someone die right before your eyes is never an easy thing, and Cable & Wireless worker Rufina Soleyn knows just that. On Wednesday, January 18, Soleyn was in his vehicle on his way to work sometime after 7 a.m., when a truck, TM32, loaded with Rabacca sand driving up the Cane Garden/Bay Hill area literally took a turn for the worse.{{more}}

Soleyn said that it appeared that the engine suddenly stalled and the wet road made the vehicle skid. The lone witness to the accident said that the driver, 49-year-old Leon “Brods” Gumbs was trying his best to regain control of the vehicle but to no avail. It skidded and flipped over four times like a toy truck before it stopped right behind a house. Soleyn recounted that Gumbs was thrown out of the massive six-wheeler and pinned beneath the right front tyre of the automobile.

The witness said he rushed to help Gumbs who was also hopelessly trying to prise himself from under the tyre. Soleyn remembered that while Gumbs was trying to get up he was mumbling something, but within a few seconds he was dead.

He revealed, “To me he was a fighter, he didn’t try to jump out of his vehicle, he was still trying to control it even though his life was in danger. This guy was so determined that even though it landed on top of him, he tried to get up. The saddest part is that I couldn’t do anything to help him. Even if there were some other guys there, the truck was too heavy. The whole accident happened in less than 30 seconds and the driver didn’t cry out or anything.”

But it was his close friend of 11 years, Sherry Clarke of Bridgetown, who seemed to be hit hardest by the fatal accident. Clarke said she received a call from a friend that Gumbs was in trouble and immediately called one of his two mobile phones only to have a stranger who was at the scene of the accident confirm her worse nightmare. She confessed that what shocked her most was that earlier that morning at 4:45 a.m. she and Gumbs went to get the Rabacca sand in the truck and while returning were laughing and joking with each other as they usually did.

Finally breaking down with the realisation that her close friend was no more, Clarke said that he had dropped her off at Bridgetown where she lived and journeyed to Kingstown to deliver the material to a house that was under construction at Cane Garden.

The 36-year-old mother of three said that her friend’s death was another tough blow for her to take, because she had recently lost her sister who passed away in September.

The father of three is the second road fatality for the year. The first was 22-year-old Darrel Sargeant of Campden Park who died after a motorcycle crash at in the vicinity of the Customs building.