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#497593 - 11/05/14 10:16 AM Hon. Elrington’s Driver Knocks Down a Woman
Marty Offline
Tonight, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington's driver has been served with a notice of intended prosecution for knocking down a 31 year old woman at mile eight on the Western Highway. It's the type of accident that we report all too often: she had just gotten off a bus and was dashing across the road when she was hit by the 2015 Prado. She survived, and 7News arrived on the scene before the ambulance. We warn you, though, that our story does contain some graphic images - and so if you are sensitive to that, you might want to tune out for the next 6 minutes. We pick up the story just after 9:00 am:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
When we arrived on the scene at mile eight and a half 20 minutes after the accident, Elisa Hunter's panicked sister was cradling her begging her to remain conscious. She did remain conscious and co-workers could not even pull her sister away.

That's where she worked with her sister - and was crossing the street to get there - when this happened.

Freddy Orellana, Supervisor - Belize Recycling Company
"I have a year here and she is working for over a year, so I know her pretty well. Everyday this is her normal road."

The ambulance arrived at 9:28 am - 26 minutes after the impact. Emergency Medical Technicians sprang into action with a stretcher working first to stabilize and console her - and asking bystanders to help install a neck brace - while the other EMT worked on what looked to be a fractured leg.

The victim, Elisa remained conscious - and then it was time to get her on the stretcher: After that it was time to get her unto the rolling stretcher from there she was rolled into the ambulance and rushed to the KHMH.

Soon after her sister was the one being taken to the hospital - here you can see a coworker carting her off in a bear hug after she fainted.

They stuffed her into her boss's car where she looked as if she was coming to. And while that's the aftermath - back to the accident. The Toyota Prado that hit her is assigned to Foreign Minister and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington - you can see here where she was first flung unto the hood of the SUV.

It was being driven by his back up driver Amir Garcia - seen here giving the police a statement. Elrington said he was in the passenger seat reading and looked up to see the accident unfolding:

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Because we saw her and so he tried to alert her, he blow the horn, he brake the vehicle he swerve the vehicle. My driver tried to go to the left and he was braking, but she walk right into him like she was confused. She wanted to stop and then suddenly she bolted going towards the south to where she works and unfortunately she went towards the south as were the driver veered towards the south, but she went right into the front of the vehicle."

From there she ended up in the middle of the road - and Elrington and his driver had to move her across

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"And so we had to - her head was there and her feet were there and we had to move her out otherwise she would have been run over by all these vehicles."

Jules Vasquez
"You had to physically lift her?"

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"I physically lifted her. See, I got blood on my pants foot because she was in the middle of the road and the vehicles were coming and nobody stopping you know. I had to get out and tried to tell people stop and then they said let's move her because they would have run over her."

This security camera inside the Belize Recycling Company compound captured the accident. Looking at a slowed down replay it started to unfold at 9:01 am when the Westline bus pulled up - it dropped her on the side of the road - the bush in the compound hides her from view. She had to cross the highway to get to her job site.

Again, this replay is slowed down but she waited 18 seconds before crossing - the driver of this eastbound white Prado that passes 15 seconds into her wait says she was already trying to cross, and he blew his horn at her when he passed - and she stepped back.

Perhaps still watching the eastbound lane, then three seconds later - Elrington's Prado hit her - you can see her tumbling violently down the road - as the SUV decelerates. The impact is tremendous as the Hunter goes flying from the impact.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"I mean he tried, he is very distress and distraught. He is an excellent driver."

Freddy Orellana, Supervisor - Belize Recycling Company
"Well maybe she got nervous when she saw the car and it was too late already. But I know if we watch the camera we can see maybe she was distracted. I couldn't say they were over speeding. We have to check the camera first. But normally she would be like a normal person - she is always talking, she is happy. She is normal, I would say she has a psychological problem or anything."

Police are looking at the driver who may well be charged:

Jules Vasquez
"Is that in your opinion justified in this case to levy those charges?"

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Well I don't want to prejudice the investigation. The police go through these, not necessarily because they have done the necessary investigations, mostly a routine situation you know. But this was a case where she was obviously walking in the middle of the road at a very busy time of the day."

Elrington expressed remorse:

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"I am very distress about her. She is going to work and caught up in her own thoughts and I don't know, it was just one of those very sad mornings."

But, what to do about it - many workers make this same crossing everyday:

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"This is a commercial area. Apparently this is a very busy area. It seems as if there are many people who work here, so that very least that can be done is a speed bump could put here to slow down the traffic and a pedestrian walkway."

Freddy Orellana, Supervisor - Belize Recycling Company
"It will be something that they should take into consideration, not just for the people crossing, but also sometimes we have big trucks coming out from the yard. I think it's good if they consider putting a speed bump somewhere around here."

This evening, the KHMH told us that Elisa Hunter is recovering from surgery. A police report says she is in critical condition. Police confirmed that the minister's driver, 25 year old Amir Garcia has been served with a notice of intended prosecution and a blood sample was taken.

We'll keep following the story.

Channel 7


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#497626 - 11/06/14 10:00 AM Re: Hon. Elrington’s Driver Knocks Down a Woman [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Hon. Elrington Visited Accident Victim

Last night we told you all about the terrible accident involving Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington’s driver and Elisa Hunter, the 31 year old who was crossing the Western Highway at mile eight to get to her work place at Belize Recycling Company.

She was flung to the pavement and suffered multiple serious injuries.

Today, a government press release announced that Elrington is being kept updated on her situation and has promised to ensure that, quote, “all appropriate assistance is given to Ms. Hunter during this difficult time.” We take that to mean, her medical bills will be covered. His driver ahs been served with a notice of intended prosecution.

Channel 7


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#497678 - 11/07/14 10:08 AM Re: Hon. Elrington’s Driver Knocks Down a Woman [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

31 Year Old Mother Dies After Being Hit By Foreign Affairs Vehicle

31 year old Elisa Hunter died yesterday evening at 5:00 pm. She's the 31 year old who was knocked down at mile eight and a half on Tuesday morning. The single mother was going to her work place at the Belize Recycling Company when a vehicle assigned to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington knocked her down. Hunter was flung violently across the pavement - we'd say as much as 40 feet - and was listed in a critical condition. 32 hours after the accident, she succumbed to her injuries. That happened at 5:00 yesterday and today we met the devastated family of the Central American Immigrant trying to hold things together under very difficult circumstances:

Ersi Hunter, Sister of Deceased
"Only a miracle we expected, and the miracle never reached."

Jules Vasquez reporting
That was the miracle needed to save 31 year old Elisa Hunter's life after she was knocked down at mile eight and a half on Tuesday.

Today, we met Hunter's family outside the KHMH morgue. From Nicaragua - three sisters came to Belize - and now one is dead, while the others care for her 7 year old daughter Ellie:

Ersi Hunter, Sister of Deceased
"We don't need money. We only want back our sister. From we were young, it was only 3 of us: my oldest sister, myself and her. We came to this country to make progress, to live in a different way."

"But we never expected this to happen. Now she only left us a little girl, and the two of us remaining."

And Ellie - now falls to Ersie's care - it's a promise one sister made to another, in the desperate minutes on the shoulder of the highway:

Ersi Hunter, Sister of Deceased
"At the moment of the accident - I went to her side and told her I would take care of her daughter until the end of my life."

Through tears, the family says that while it was an accident, it wasn't one caused by cell phone distraction:

Ersi Hunter, Sister of Deceased
"We only want to say, it's not how they are saying - it's not how they say she was on her phone. I want to defend her; she's my sister. I know that what happened is serious, I won't blame anyone, God knows what he does."

No casting of blame and no request for assistance - only the hard, cold knowledge that life for this family has forever changed:

Ersi Hunter, Sister of Deceased
"I don't know if he's a minister or who he is, but they have left us with a child."

Hunter migrated to Belize in 2005 and had been working at the Recycling Company for 10 months. A representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stayed in contact with the family and told us today that they will cover the cost of sending Elisa's body back to Nicaragua for burial - as well as her medical expenses.

The Minister's driver, driver Amir Garcia is pending charges according to police.

Channel 7


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