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I nearly ran her down, recalls driver

- Calls for more lights at Paraquita Bay stretch
The stretch of road in the vicinity of HLSCC. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Lester Smith almost experienced a driver’s worst nightmare when he nearly hit a woman on the Blackburn Highway, in the vicinity of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) on February 29, 2012 and is calling on authorities to address the poor lighting condition in the area.

“I was coming into town, and a vehicle stopped in front of me and I was about to overtake it when I realized that a woman was crossing the road. I nearly hit the lady, it was very scary,” Smith told this news agency. “She was wearing a black top and a coloured pants, and that area was really dark. If I was going really fast I was going to get in trouble.”

According to Smith, the traumatic ordeal occurred a little after 7 p.m.

His reason for approaching Virgin Islands News Online, Smith stated, is for the relevant authorities to get their act together and place more lights along that stretch of road.

“They have to stop talking and do something...really do something. I really feel sorry for that driver [Wendell Varlack] who hit Tofficah Thompson in 2010,” the driver lamented. “I have excellent vision and I did not see that woman, and he [Varlack] wore glasses.”

Varlack, who was involved in the April 13, 2010 accident, was found guilty of causing her death by dangerous driving on February 18, 2012 in the High Court. He will be sentenced on March 15, 2012.

The maximum sentence for such an offence is five years in prison.

31 Responses to “I nearly ran her down, recalls driver”

  • Me too (08/03/2012, 06:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Same here a couple of nights ago, a vehicle had stoped, i assumed to talk on the cell or just a normal random stopping anywhere and then a person appeared in front of me - i almost ran them down. I was not speeding, my eyes were on the road. This stopping to let people cross the road is an extremely dangerous practice and has to be stopped. Pedestrians have to excercise a litle sense and patience when crossing the road. I strongly beleive a traffic island is needed through the whole of that area and large fines for vehicles stopping on the side of the road. There is plenty of space in either direction to pull off the road to pick up and drop off people. Something needs to be done fast before another innocent driver is whisked up tot he hotel on the hill
    • Well Meh Boy... (08/03/2012, 23:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      They need to address the problem. It's not enough to say that people are impatient and then continue to watch children being run over. FIX THE PROBLEM. We have time and money for other nonsensical things, find the time and money for our kids.
  • number 7 (08/03/2012, 08:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    oh no we would have had another student being run down...NDP wake up!!!!! you promised to correct the worngs of the VIP..do something from just talking!
    • Discrete (08/03/2012, 09:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You'll need to exercise patience. When a vehicle stops in front of you, you have to be vigilant and observed why the vehicle infront of you stopped. One or two things, it's because of landing off someone or stopped to let someone cross the road. You don't just because a vehicle stop try and overtake without first seeing why. Most of you are die hard road rage dangerous not only to yourselves but to others.
      • Me too (08/03/2012, 09:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        apparently you drive on different roads than I do. How about stopping to chat with someone, stopping to talk on a cell, stopping for no reason at all, stopping to look at a chick, stopping to look at the hillside, stopping to fix a problem with the vehicle, and more.
        • Yes - Pass HLSCC Student (08/03/2012, 11:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Yes, I agree with you. People do stop for a lot of strange reasons such as those you mentioned. But I also agree with Discrete. You have to have some kind of patience when driving. And you must remember that that area is a SCHOOL ZONE, therefore you must try to have a bit of patience while driving in this area. Also these pedestrians who are catching a ride, need to stand on the side where there is a bus stop, even if they are traveling to town. And the buses should be required to pull on the side where the bus stop is. Instead of having persons cross the street to get into vehicles. This problem is getting really out of hand. I am a pass student and I have been out there catching a ride and it was scary for me to be out there catching a ride becuase I know that people like to over take on that stretch or even drive over the speed limit. Something really needs to be done. I was at school the night Tofficah was hit, and I had to catch a ride home that same night, and I was out there standing on the side and that probably was the only night I saw persons driving with caution on that stretch..because they were being nosey.. NDP..We beg you, please do something. The VIP put up signs say "Do Not Pass" and "School Zone" but that is not enough. Something more needs to be done and fast!
        • nonya (08/03/2012, 13:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          that is why you observe before over taking!!!!!!!! Had Mr. Smith stopped to see what was going on he would have noticed that person crossing instead of having the close encounter. STOP AND LOOK FIRST!!! It only takes a few seconds and it could mean life and death for someone else.
          • state of the union (11/03/2012, 09:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Stop blaming the drivers something needs to be done in that area and while they at it they need to fix the pot holes.
      • ken (08/03/2012, 11:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I second that. true patience is what some of us don't have and that is why we does end up in these horrific accidents.
    • Black Eye (08/03/2012, 09:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      NDP what! Lester Smith you are a perfect example of the type of impatience and carelessness that is displayed on this little island! If a vehicle stops in front of you, then wait! Even if they letting someone out of their vehicle! Especially in the area of the college! Lighting or no lighting, it is getting ridiculous in this place!
      • SKA (08/03/2012, 10:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Thank you 'Black eye' the same thing I was saying... Lesmore talking nonesence.... he is WELL AWARE of the lighting problem in the area, its a school district, a car stop, u stop and wait too, its that simple.
        • Concerned (08/03/2012, 11:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          @SKA it is Lester and not Lesmore
        • well sa (08/03/2012, 21:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          You are quick to make a comment about Lesmore because he is whats on your mind. Read the stories properly and keep Lesmore name out of your mouth.
      • Pure crap! (08/03/2012, 12:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Someone in front of you stop then you should stop to and check carefully before overtaking. This happens by the cross walks as well. I’ve stopped to let someone cross and people come from behind trying to overtake.
        • stuppps (08/03/2012, 18:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          The man is not talking nonsense, while it may be a problem of lack of patience, the underlying issue is that that area needs to be fixed. BOTTOM LINE. Lets not miss the point. I am a very careful driver and I know for sure that area is dark when night falls.....speeding or no speeding, drunk or no drunk....overtaking or no overtaking...THERE NEEDS TO BE ADEQUATE LIGHTING AND CLEARLY MARKED CROSS WALKS FOR OUR STUDENTS. Come on man in this civilized society, we cant even put up couple good lights stuppps man. Lets stick to the point. It could have happen to anybody, the place need lights.
          • Dem say (08/03/2012, 19:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            So long I have heard Mark Vanterpool saying he was going to put a crosswalk and more lights in that area and its going on five months and nothing!!!! I guess they will only act when we have another Miss Thompson or Lester near miss.
  • release (08/03/2012, 09:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I thank god we did not had another tragedy.
    • BVIWA (08/03/2012, 23:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      for real and I thank Mr. Smith for coming forward as this might brig pressure on government to finally DO SOMETHING!
  • Dattebayo (08/03/2012, 09:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I'm not sure which department is responsible for crosswalks but can we PLEASE MOVE the crosswalks from so close to the roundabout in town PLEASE! When approaching a roundabout one is paying attention to cars coming around so you can safely proceed. A pedestrian might then start to cross when you aren't looking in there direction. it has happened to me many times, its not that I'm not paying attention its just that sometimes you might not see them initially. There might be cars in your line of site especially coming from the highway next to medicure. Some pedestrians just approach a crosswalk and begin to cross without observing traffic. Again please move the crosswalk back about a 50 or so feet.
    • I Second That (08/03/2012, 12:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with you. I have been terrified to see a pedestrian start across just as I am ready to enter the roundabout. Both the pedestrian and the driver needs to be aware. As a driver you look both ways, but at a roundabout your focus is mainly on paying attention to an opening for you to enter the roundabout, so even though you always check left-right-left the majority of that time is watching oncoming traffic. More than once I have been at the roundabout, seen an opening, been ready to enter, turned to the left and been startled by a pedestrian appearing in front of my car. This has made me as a pedestrian wary when I traverse these very walkways. My thought have been how unsafe I feel when I have made eye contact with one lane and started to proceed and then have to deal with the next lane that may not see me and wish to turn on the outside lane of the roundabout. As you have suggested the crosswalks should not be at the entrance points to the roundabout but rather at least 50 yards back. Of course there will always be jaywalkers who cross traffic at any point they desire, but the safety of all would be best served with this change.
      • Monkey Business (08/03/2012, 13:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Fraser AGAIN!!!! The cross walks were placed there to accomodate the traffic lights and it would've worked fine because people walked on the red light (traffic stopped). As soon as the lights were taken down, the cross walks should've been placed further back where all traffic can see clearly. It's a nasty accident waiting to happen. The walks by Bobbys, the one by Vanterpool/Oneal Gas and the one by Medicure. Big nasty accident waiting to happen. And when you add the taxis stopping off right there infront of jasmine building after the round about, clogging traffic and having people enter their vehicles from the right side, where overtaking traffic is passing, totally dangerous. Someone is going to get killed there if it's not addressed. We have over 200 police, WHERE ARE THEY? WE have the duke now we see a cop on every frigging corner but after Friday, they gone back to playing domino or moonlighting as security guards? WTF? I even see parents letting off little kids to cross the busy highway in the morning, no cross walk just the middle of the highway and they don't even indicate to stop, just brap! NONSENSE!
  • rat tail (08/03/2012, 10:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    wow this is serious what if he had run her down?? was she a student? was he speeding?
  • SKA (08/03/2012, 10:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    while I agree that the area is poorly lit..... I must also note that when you see a driver STOP.... wait and see why the driver has stopped.... proceed with CAUTION...... its the same reason Wendal Varalack is in hot water now, NO PATIENCE.... we must learn to be paitent.... for a small island we always in a hurry... slow down....
  • Gosh (08/03/2012, 11:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    My thing is this is how that girl died at the college. If you see someone infron of you stop you should wait for a bit to see why they stopped in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Confucius (08/03/2012, 13:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    All that is needed is a pedestrian light that anyone crossing the highway can push the button, wait for the light to turn green for them and red for oncoming traffic. They don't need a walkway over the road ~ just a pedestrian crossing light. Certainly even though money is very tight, surely our government can find enough to install one paltry pedestrian crossing light! Also, it is past time that drivers take the proper precautions to pull "safely" OFF the road when dropping off and picking up passengers ~ instead of just stopping in the middle of traffic.
  • Brap (08/03/2012, 14:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the meantime they should encourage all the pedestrians who are out at night, not just at paraquita bay but in any location to wear bright colors.
  • Stop the MADNESS!!! (08/03/2012, 15:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We as BVIslanders need to stop this madness about VIP this and NDP that and be more concerned bout the safety of ourselves and our children! This is ridiculous now man!
  • Cassidy (08/03/2012, 15:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I was taught that you should walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Too many people here walk on the "wrong" side and they aren't looking at oncoming traffic and that traffic has difficulty seeing them. Perhaps we might revert to "oldtime" wisdom?
  • Great Job (08/03/2012, 16:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It need more light in that Area on a serious note!!!!!!
  • farmer brown (08/03/2012, 18:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i will be counting and checking to see how long the NDP takes to fix this mess as VIP did nothing!!!!
  • Sprinkles (08/03/2012, 22:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well whenever I go East End and pass that area I STILL CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THERE ISN'T ADDITIONAL LIGHTING LIKE FRASER HAD IMMEDIATELY PROMISED. NDP please take hold of this situation that was left hanging. WHAT IRRITATES MEIS DRIVERS WHO TALK ON THEIR CELLS AND STOP JUST TO GET DEEPER IN THE CONVO OR HAVE SOMEONE CHATTING IN THE CAR AND STOP JUST TO LOOK OVER AND SAY SOMETHING, DRIVERS WHO FEEL IT IS OK TO STOP AND CHAT WITH A PASSERBY -----------DRIVERS LACK PROPER MANNERS IN THIS PLACE...THAT'S LIKE AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN IF THEY PULL THAT IN THE US.


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