PLEEBO, Maryland – At least two persons have died and one injured in a tragic motorcycle accident in Pleebo.
The victims were 15-year-old Susannah Gbah and 19-year-old J. Martin Toe, Jr. The accident, which occurred on August 1 at approximately 11:30 p.m., also left 25-year-old Beatrice Bohleh in critical condition at the J. J. Dossen Hospital in Harper.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing the three victims riding a motorcycle and trying to dodge a vehicle that was approaching from the opposite lane at a high speed. In an attempt to dodge the vehicle, the motorcycle’s operator veered into a parked truck.
One eyewitness, Patrick Mensah, said Toe, who was operating the motorcycle, was a street vendor who had been informally selling gasoline along the road in Pleebo.
“J. Martin Toe used to sell gasoline on the sidewalk here in Pleebo; [he was] not a [commercial] motorcyclist as other people have claimed to the media,” Mensah said, explaining that Toe had borrowed the bike from a friend.
A nurse in the emergency room at the J. J. Dossen Hospital who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak told The Bush Chicken that the family of Gbah has already agreed to lay her to rest. Meanwhile, Toe’s parents are negotiating with the police for his body to be preserved.
Beatrice Bohlen is still at the hospital, undergoing treatment, although eyewitnesses said she had sustained quite serious injuries, raising doubts about the possibility about whether she would survive.
The World Health Organization estimates that there were 1,657 deaths resulting from road accidents in Liberia in 2018 – the highest amount of traffic deaths in the world per capita. In February 2020, senior Liberian officials, including the minister of transport and the inspector general of the Liberia National Police attended the third annual Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden.
There, the Liberian authorities signed onto the Stockholm Declaration, pledging to reduce the number of deaths by road accidents by zero by 2050. The goal is generally known as Vision Zero and has been adopted by municipalities around the world, including New York City.
However, in Liberia, this pledge has not yet amounted to concrete actions. For motorcyclists, one of the biggest improvements in safety would be to require helmets for all riders. However, the Liberia National Police does not enforce this.
Featured photo by Franklin Nehyalor