Liberia: Eye-Witnesses Account Suggests Executive Mansion Press Vehicle Driver’s Recklessness Caused Feb. 10 Fatal Accident
MONROVIA – At least eight lawyers claiming to be eye-witnesses have attributed the recent accident involving President George Weah’s motorcade to the driver of the Executive Mansion press vehicle who they say was over speeding in a curve on the wrong lane.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The tragic accident occurred on February 10, 2019 and left two persons dead including Gabriel Wilson, cka ‘Executive Horn’ of the Executive Mansion and a clergy woman and educator, Victoria Wlue. Several journalists were seriously wounded, two have been flown to Abidjan, Ivory Coast for advanced treatment.
“Somewhere towards Zeanzue, we encountered a navy and sky-blue Nissan Patrol jeep, which we identified as a Presidential Escort vehicle, heading towards Monrovia on the opposite lane with the occupants waving at us to get off the road. This vehicle was on excessive speed. A second vehicle, clearly marked Executive Mansion Press Car, a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep, was driving very closely behind the Presidential Escort vehicle but on the lane designated for vehicles travelling from Monrovia to Gbarnga and travelling at the same excessive speed as the Presidential Escort vehicle,” the lawyers testified in a statement signed by all eight.
They include: Cllr. J. Awia Vankan, Atty. Allen F. Gweh, Atty. T. Emmanuel Tomah, Atty. Kim Harris, Atty. Evelyn Kou Lah, Atty. Musa S. Sidibey, Atty. Preston N. G. Karkerzeah and Atty. Aaron Dayeker Kartee.
The lawyers were reportedly travelling in a three-car convoy to Sanniquellie to attend the turnover Ceremony of the leadership of Nimba County Bar Association (“Nimba Bar”) and attend the opening of the February Term of Court.
The Lawyers’ Account
The first vehicle in our three-car convoy encountered the Presidential Escort vehicle on a straight stretch of the road. When the driver, Atty. Sidibey, saw the Executive Mansion Press Car which was behind the Presidential Escort Car coming head-on to his, he abruptly swerved off the road, thereby avoiding a collision.
The second car in our vehicle had similar experience.
The third vehicle in our convoy was the nearest miss of the three vehicles. It had just emerged from a curve when the driver, Atty. Gweh, encountered the Presidential Escort vehicle, and immediately after, the Executive Mansion Press car followed at very high speed and driving on Atty. Gweh’s side of the road. The Executive Mansion Press car made no attempt to avoid colliding with Atty. Gweh’s vehicle. While the female occupants began to scream, Atty. Gweh managed, with the intervention of God, to miraculously dodge the Executive Mansion Press Car. He was still struggling to park the vehicle off the road when the sound of the collision involving the Executive Mansion Press car and a Black Jeep was heard.
We heard the collision and saw the impact of the accident – the ejection of the passengers through the windshields of the vehicles, the terrible injuries inflicted on the riders, etc. It was only after the riders were removed from the vehicles and Former Associate Justice Wilkins M. Wright identified as one of the occupants did we know that the former Justice was involved in the accident. Evidently, the former Justice was also en route to Nimba for the opening of court.”
Pres. Weah Pulled Out Injured
According to them, they witnessed President Weah who stopped at the scene for nearly 45 minutes helping to pull out of some of the injured from the vehicles involved in the accident.
“Within about a minute of the accident, a large convoy of vehicles, preceded by another Presidential Escort car, arrived at the scene. We saw His Excellency, President George Manneh Weah, disembarked his presidential vehicle and personally participated in removing some of the victims of the accident. President Weah also reached over to our third vehicle where a group of us were standing and narrating our experience. He expressed his regret over the accident. The President remained on the scene for about 45 minutes until all the victims were removed from the wrecked vehicles and then directed several vehicles from his convoy to take the victims to the Phebe Hospital with the hope of helping them survive the accident. We thank the President for his humility, care and concern,” they added.
EPS Must Take Caution
According to the lawyers, they decided to give their eye-witnesses account so that the Presidential Security Details can take measures to avert accidents of similar nature as it performs its responsibility of protecting the President.
MICAT Contrary Story
The Ministry of Information in a statement had attributed the accident to intrusion of the President’s convoy by Cllr. Wright’s vehicle. The ministry in the statement reiterated warnings by the Executive Protection Service against the intrusion of the presidential motorcade as such could pose threat to the live of the President and those onboard