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Zion Roop

Sascha Wilson

When Afebee Arthur heard that her 13-year-old son got knocked down she ran out to the main road in Guapo thinking that he was still alive.

“I thought my child just get a break foot or something. I never know my child dead,” wept Arthur during a telephone interview.

Zion Roop, the eldest of her three children and her only son, died before he arrived at the Point Fortin Area Hospital on Monday. The incident occurred near La Retreat Road where the boy lived with his mother and two sisters, ages seven and 11. He left home to buy something for his mother at the shop.

A police report stated that around 3.20 pm an estate constable with G4S Secure Solutions was heading towards La Brea along the Southern Main Road in the company’s Mercedes Benz van.

The driver said he saw the boy standing on the left side of the main road at Gonzales Village, Guapo. Upon reaching closer to him, he claimed the child suddenly ran across the road. The 36-year-old driver said he swerved left to avoid hitting him, but he still struck the boy.

Roop’s grief-stricken mother said he was playing home with his sisters when she asked him to go the parlour.

“Now I can’t even remember what I send him to buy. I should never send him, then my child would be here with me today,” she sobbed. Arthur explained that there are two shops nearby, but she always warned Zion not to go by the shop on the main road. The other shop is at the back of their house.

“He has three dogs. If he going anywhere the dogs go with him. So when he was going up the road by the shop now the dogs (other dogs) start to bark at him with the dogs and like he gone by the other shop out the road. But, I did not send him by that shop I send him by the shop inside the road.”

Minutes later she went by the window and was looking out for him.

“When I watch I see the dogs and them coming. I say the dogs will never come and leave Zion, anytime the dog coming he coming too.”

She continued looking out, thinking that he would soon reach then she got a phone call that he got knocked down on the main road.

“I feel something leave my belly and come out of the throat. When I run out the road I saw him quite over by the ditch on the other side of the road. I was touching him and thing but I done know my child dead already. His belly was not moving up and down like breathing. Like when the vehicle hit him he pitch and hit his head on the culvert.” She said a stranger lifted her son, put him in his vehicle and took him to the hospital.

Arthur who moved into the area six months ago said she never wanted her son walking on the main road because drivers always speeding and driving recklessly along that stretch. She said he never made it to the shop. Arthur said her son wrote the SEA exam but was going to re-sit the exam next year.

“He was very loving, very sweet, very intelligent child. He would do anything for you. He will give you his last. Even when I give him his money and thing for himself he will always buy something and bring for me. He was a really sweet child. I could never get a son like him again.”

Arthur is calling for justice. “I want justice for this because I don’t want his life to just be in vain. I don’t want it to just go and they just talk about him now and after everybody just sweep it under the rug like he never existed.” She advised parents to always tell their children whether they are good or bad that they love them. “I grow up my children with real love. My son was really, really loved.”

Avallene who runs a vegetable stall nearby said she saw the child run across the road from the back of a maxi. Breaking down in tears, she recalled, “The money van just pick him up and I just see the child flying. I just start to shake. He pitch on the other side. I don’t know the child but he was so young.”

She said the driver was saying that he did not expect him to run across the road. “But, the thing is the way he was driving. You see that stretch. They need to put speed humps or something on that stretch, is too much recklessness. They drive like they on the highway.”

The driver was questioned by the police and released pending the outcome of the investigation. Arthur went to the Forensic Science Centre yesterday but was told that the autopsy was put off for today. Visiting the scene was a party of officers from Guapo Police including Sgt Ali, Cpl Boodhai, WCpl Frederick and WPC Ashby. Cpl Boodhai is investigating.