Tragedy struck in Belair on Monday afternoon leaving 15-year-old Mark McDonald dead, his 12-year-old brother injured and a truck driver very traumatised.
In this single moment many lives have forever been changed.
“I’m very deeply terrified by the whole event, especially for myself and the family, I know the family is very much heartbroken,” landscaper Edwart Joseph of Belair said on Thursday, August 12.
“I even asked God, asked the nature, why, why was I used in this tragedy,” explained the 43-year-old who started driving in 2004.
Although he did not know the two boys very well, he knew them from around Belair where he has been living for six years, and he is a friend of their father.
“I did my best, I pull aside as much as I could,” the driver of TB622 said.
Joseph revealed that the way that the accident happened there was nothing for either him or the boys to do.
“I took (the truck) as much off the road as I could to give them way, but because of the speed they came around the corner with, and off their ‘hands’, they could have done nothing. I couldn’t have done anything, I couldn’t have go any further or pull anywhere, and they could not have stopped because the bikes were coming at such a great speed,” he recalled.
After working in Buccament for the day, Joseph was nearing his home. He had just driven away from a bridge, and was taking an incline, and therefore estimates that he wasn’t going very fast. The two boys were travelling down the hill on bicycles.
“I could see them coming full speed at me, I blow my horn and first reaction, pull dead left…,” he said. The 15-year-old tried to run off the road but instead slid underneath the vehicle and is speculated to have struck the oil filter.
Almost instantaneously McDonald’s brother, Delron Morgan came behind him. “…All I could have done was just take my foot up off the brakes, ease back one because it happen in a flash, it’s not like I had time was to pause,” the driver recounted. He chose to ease back because he saw that the second boy was either going under the vehicle as well or would hit the truck head on.
Joseph understands, “…his bike hit on to the other bike that was under the vehicle which slowed him down and …he just bounce, the bike fall and he bounce, just hit him on the left side of my bumper and then went on to the embankment there.”
He reckoned that this is what saved him otherwise Delron may have also gone underneath the truck and been severely injured or dead.
On exiting the truck to see the teenager underneath, the landscaper immediately began crying, and cried more when he couldn’t see the 12-year-old. However, “when I came round and I see him scramble up, I realise he was okay. I felt a little bit better,” the Belair resident said.
He called the police at 2:36 pm but they took a while to arrive on the scene. Joseph was taken into custody as procedures require, but has since been released.
McDonald was pronounced dead on the scene and in the immediate aftermath, a video of the youngster under the truck began circulating widely on social media.
The family, with the help of the community is making funeral arrangements, while the 12-year-old boy, despite being able to walk right after the accident, is healing from injuries which apparently include a fractured or broken leg.
His parents are too taken up with arrangements and too overcome by grief to speak at this time.
When asked about his mental health following the accident, the driver responded, “I am very much traumatised in the sense that sometimes every little second or maybe a minute might pass, your mind can’t stop flashing of seeing them coming with the speed..”, “I was just hoping it was just a dream.”