Family appeals for justice following accident victim’s death

Deceased, Elba Perez (photo courtesy the family)
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by Leon Norville

[email protected]

The family of Elba Perez, the woman who was struck by a vehicle on April 13th and later died in hospital, is asking the country’s law enforcement officials to ensure the receive justice for the death of their mother.

In an exclusive interview with Observer media, the visibly shaken family members said they are trying to cope with the unexpected death of Perez and are hoping that justice will be served as soon as possible.

A concern from one of them was that the investigating officer in the matter called them recently asking for documents for the deceased, and for a Covid-19 test to be done. The family said that Perez was tested for the virus on April 23, seven days before she died, and the result was negative.

The distraught family members said they are fearful that justice may not be served fairly, and even alluded to the fact that the authorities may pass off Perez’ death as Covid-related, based on “grey areas” within the handling of the investigations.

“How do we know that this man is even in the country as we speak? He could have caught a flight and left,” one of them posited.

Also of concern is the matter of the autopsy that has been ordered to be performed on Perez, and they are beginning to think that there may be other issues at play in obstructing justice, especially since the driver who allegedly attempted to leave the scene of the accident has not yet been charged.

The lawyer representing the family, Andrew O’kolo, said his clients have indicated some concern and he has sought to assure them as much as he could as to how he sees things playing out.

He said, they are concerned that their mother was hit by a motorist and was in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for many days and no one was charged for the incident. Now that that there is a death, charges are yet to be laid.

“So, you can understand, you have a loved one that was hit and ultimately died, and they have to wait,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Rodney Ellis, who heads the traffic department, said the police investigators are carrying out their investigations with a view of bringing this case to a close soonest, and he is asking the family of the deceased to be patient.

“Investigations are ongoing, and a post-mortem is to be conducted, thereafter a determination will be made with regards to charges,” he told Observer.

In response to who ordered the autopsy for the deceased, he confirmed the death of Perez is a coroner’s case and, by law, an autopsy forms part of the police investigative process when dealing with situations of this nature.

The medical report from hospital outlined that on arrival Perez was bleeding profusely from lacerations to the roof of her mouth, first part of the tongue and upper lip and had bruising around the left eye, was not reacting to light while her right eye reacted slowly to light. She had fractures to the back and front of her ribs as was seen on a Chest X-ray and also bleeding in the brain.

Family members said they are ready for this harrowing ordeal to be over so they can lay Perez to rest.

Perez is remembered as a strong, jovial woman who stayed active and was loved by everyone in her community. Her family is still trying to come to grips with the loss of their loved one and encourages people with their parents alive to show them as much love and spend as much time with them because they never know when they can be taken away from this life.

“It hurts so bad; I love her, and we just want justice,” one family member said with tears streaming down her face.

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