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January 28, 2014
SVG records four deaths in tragic weekend l

Leopold ‘Pinto’ Castello, a 51-year-old farmer of Hopewell, Peter Phillips (33) – an auto mechanic of Enhams and Alwyn ‘Crazy’ Toby (53), a mason of Mesopotamia, succumbed to their injuries after the truck on which they were travelling,{{more}} TE 214 owned by Eldon Samuel of Mesopotamia ran off the Maroon Hill (commonly referred to as the Greiggs Hill) public road and went over an embankment shortly after 1 on Sunday afternoon.

Cliff Richards (42), Nigel Peters (33) and Brendon Grant (36) were also injured in the accident, and despite saying they were still experiencing a lot of pain, were expected to make it.

Castello died on the spot and SEARCHLIGHT understands that Toby died while en route from the Levi C Latham Health Centre in Marriaqua to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), and according to a police report, Phillips died at the MCMH.

Peters, the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident said that he is experiencing a lot of pain in the chest area. Grant has voiced a similar complaint.

News of the tragedy quickly spread throughout the Marriaqua Valley and surrounding areas and within minutes, a large crowd flocked to the area to get a first-hand glimpse of the wreckage.

The mangled, metallic remains of the vehicle came to rest upright; however some eye witnesses recalled seeing the truck ‘flying’ through the air before coming to rest a long distance from the public road above.

The body of Castello lay a few feet away from the vehicle, draped with a white sheet – and the wailing could be heard as loved ones made their way to the scene.

Elizabeth Forde, Castello’s cousin told SEARCHLIGHT that it had been a while since she last communicated with the deceased man, but that they got along well.

She said that she received a telephone call on Sunday afternoon and the person informed her of her cousin’s death.

“Right now I am trying to cope – it is a big loss for the family,” Forde said.

Another relative, Morvena Black said that she saw a photograph of the wreck on her daughter’s cell phone.

After examining the photo, she said that she realised that it was a relative of hers – Pinto as he was also known.

“It was so sad,” Black said.

She said she had not seen Pinto in a long time, but she got along well with him.

“We will always remember Pinto because he was a nice guy, loved by everyone,” she said.

Monica ‘Annie’ James, the common-law wife of Toby said that the men, all co-workers of her mate of over 25 years, came looking for Toby Sunday morning, but he told them to pick him up when they returned.

They came back for him and he left, James explained.

Some time in the afternoon, she said she got a phone call which alerted her that there was an accident involving a truck and there were fears that Toby may have been involved.

Soon after, she received another call which confirmed that the truck was the one in which Toby was travelling.

She said she went down to the clinic while her neighbours went to the scene of the tragedy.

According to James, she saw Toby on the bed at the clinic, but was not allowed to enter.

While waiting and watching, she said that she saw an ambulance making its way to the health centre.

“Well everybody ah wonder who goin’ next?” she recalled.

A few minutes later, James said that she saw them wheeling Toby out and as he was about to be put into the ambulance, someone asked if he was in pain and he replied that he was experiencing a lot of pain in his back.

She said it was suggested that she should go to the hospital with Toby, but she declined saying that she would go home for some items and then go to the hospital later.

Her sister got into the ambulance and James said she went home.

It would be minutes later that the tragic news came that Toby too had succumbed to the injuries and died on his way to the MCMH.

“When me dey home, me ah hear de house phone ah ring and my sister said that Crazy not responding,” James said.

“When me hear dat, me bawl out,” she continued.

She got another phone call minutes later to confirm that Toby did not survive the ordeal.

The woman says she was now relying on the comfort of friends and loved ones who have since done their best to be there for her.

The three road fatalities followed that of 51 year-old Martina John who died on the spot after the vehicle in which she was travelling skidded off the Coulls Hill main road and went over an embankment on Saturday. (DD)