Relatives of Victim Killed by Container Truck in Monrovia Seek Justice
Monrovia – Strolling through a cook shop owned and operated by Rose Tornah, now a deceased – are spoons, cloths, and remains of pots and red oil bottles smashed to the ground.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo, [email protected]
The cook shop and owner are no more – the zinc and floor got damaged when a truck carrying two 40ft containers brakes failed on a shallow hill on Benson and Johnson Streets intersection.
Ms. Tornah was among three who instantly died leaving 15 wounded as reported by the Liberia National Police.
She was affectionately called, “children mother’ according to Jeremiah, who identified himself as zogo (less fortunate/underprivileged).
He said she was the only food seller who always used to put food aside for them after their daily hustle.
Tornah, a single mother, has been doing the food sale for over 5 years from which she sent her kids to school and supported her aging parents.
Her sister is the only keeper of her three surviving children of which two got wounded in the accident.
One of the son’s leg got broken twice while the other hand left its joint with bruises on his body.
Fatu Harris, the deceased sister told FPA that she will miss her sister for the immense role played during her time on earth.
“I am the oldest and she was next to me but the role she played was more than me,” she said.
“Her loss is a blow to the family because we all survive through her – many days my children were supported by her through feeding, clothing.”
She disclosed that the two wounded kids are separated because she couldn’t afford to pay the hospital bills.
“We took the kids from JFK because we couldn’t pay the bills.”
“We expected the government, the Trucker Union to come to our aid but to no avail- so one is in Stephen Tolbert Estate while the other on Robertsfield being treated by a country doctor,” she narrated.
She revealed that Rose, Jacqueline, Tartay a tricyclist, and a lady who was sugarcane seller and a boy from West Point as people who died in the accident.
“Right now I have nothing to say because I lost my only daughter and the government I voted for can’t do or say anything – this is heartbreaking.”
“My daughter is at the funeral home – I passed there always hoping she say a word but nothing and this government is paying blind eyes. All I can say is no head no tail for this accident.”, Jacqueline, 16, a mother lamented.
Fatu, along with three others, described the death as painful and wonder why such accident will occur.
“My sister comes here by 5am to get her food ready and leave by 8 pm. You see me sitting here I am imagining her, but all I can say is all praises to God because their death is so painful that for every time her sons remember, they start to scream.”
The deceased was a maternal sister to Fatu and boasted of efficient support given to their aging mother.
Aloysius Tanelseh have a provision shop directly opposite where Rose’s shop was. His son is wounded currently because he was sitting in front the shop when the container fell.
Tanelseh shop is partly broken and there are cracks on the black and white war that was supported by steel and by-wire.
“Two weeks ago, a trucker union came begging that they would take responsibility of the bodies in the funeral home. Till today, nothing has been done and it’s like we are fools to them.”
“Because when the incident occurred, the police secured the containers till it was hauled to NICOM store room, and my son was wounded.”
“Is the government saying that they prioritize alcohol above its citizens”.
This is so frustrating,” he narrated.
: “This is a national disaster and it’s regrettable that we live in a nation where there’s no government, having an uninsured truck plying the streets, the government is to blame because they allow the laws on the book to be sleeping instead of implementing.”
“The manner and form in which the government is taking this accident seem like they wanted it to happen because they haven’t sent a representative here, so I can say they have no respect for the dead.”
Tanelseh said in all aspect, the dead should be respected mostly the way and form in which they died.
“When the trucker union came they promised to have buried the deceased today, but since they left, not a call or even a footstep have they made here, and three of our family members lying in the funeral home and their bodies decaying.”
Tarley Johnson, former chairman described the accident as complete damage to the bereaved family and country.
“Their death is a complete damage because the families might have a psychological problem since they died in the midst of their family.”
He continued: “I put Rose on a zinc and I couldn’t recognize her because her eyes, mouth were smashed, for every time I think about the incident I jerk, here is Tanelseh who drinks, and the shop got damaged, other shops got damage what is the government doing.”
He called for timely intervention from the Government of Liberia as the family is yearning for such.
The bereaved families disclosed that 5 persons died instead of 3 as reported by the police.
It can be recalled Police Spokesman Sam Collins disclosed that three persons died in the crash leaving 15 seriously injured.
But the bereaved family said the report was false and was meant to reduce the number of death to benefit the distillery company and truckers union.
On Wednesday there were aggrieved family members on the ground of the Temple of Justice and at the front of the Liberia National Police chanting “We want justice, our people getting rotten.”
The protesters were seeing with placards as they were asked to be calmed and ceased the noise but they continued their chanting.
A NICOM representative who refused to be named said his company cannot be held responsible for the crash.
Our reporter who toured the scene said the road is not pliable for a container truck to ride upon.
There is poor alley as many shops and petty vendors are seen along the road selling.
The NICOM representative confirmed that his container usually plies the road but a container bringing in their chemicals for distillery was resisted by residents recently.
“We cannot be held responsible because we contracted the truckers union and they provided the truck, so why if it was a plane, will we be held responsible? no, so no one can hold us.”
Since the incident on April 8th, the Police sent suspect Mohammed Kamara to the Monrovia Traffic Court upon which Judge Jomah Jallah ordered his immediate detention at the south beach.
Kamara is charged with Reckless driving, resulting in death, injuries, and damage of structures and properties.
His commitment to prison, which is in possession of FPA, shows that he was imprisoned April 17, but the family said the suspect was jailed on April 18 following their protest at the court.