Heartbreak as medical student dies 10 days after horrific road accident

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Kenneth Mathew (Photo contributed). Karim Edwards was charged with dangerous driving last week (Observer photo)
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By Gemma Handy

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The death of one of two medical students critically injured in a road accident 10 days ago yesterday invoked an outpouring of anguish from people across the nation – and heartbreak for his devastated loved ones.

Kenneth Mathew came to Antigua from India with high hopes of becoming a doctor upon completion of his studies at the American University of Antigua (AUA).

Last night, his grief-stricken parents who arrived in the country last week hoping to fly the 21-year-old overseas for specialist treatment were instead making arrangements to repatriate his body.

Mathew, who was in his first semester at AUA, was attempting to cross Friars Hill Road in the early hours of October 23 with his friend Priyanjana Das, 19, when the pair were struck by a car said to have been driven by Karim Edwards.

Mathew suffered a severe brain injury which loved ones had said they feared was irreparable.

Yesterday, Das remained in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit where she is said to be recovering physically but remains distraught over losing her right arm which was so severely injured it was amputated.

Meanwhile, Edwards is now likely facing upgraded charges, police told Observer yesterday.

The 45-year-old accountant was previously charged with dangerous driving. Edwards, who allegedly initially fled the scene before later handing himself in to police, appeared before court last Friday where he was stripped of his driving licence and bailed.

Mathew was described by university friends as “loving, giving and charismatic” and “an angel”.

A statement from AUA last night said he was “an exemplary student”.

“He was a passionate, focused and dedicated person and an example to his peers,” it said, explaining that the university had scheduled a special prayer and counselling session for the AUA community.

“Additional counselling support will be provided on an ongoing basis. We would like to again thank the public for the overwhelming support during this trying time, and ask that you continue to keep his parents, family and friends in your prayers,” it added.

Tributes also poured in on social media yesterday from members of the public for the “bright young” student.

The incident has once again raised questions over the safety of the recently resurfaced highway with some calling for speed bumps to slow motorists down.

Mathew’s friends previously made desperate pleas for him to be flown out of the country swiftly, saying “every hour matters to save his life”. Some had hoped he could be flown to the United Arab Emirates where his father was previously based for work.

Dr KJ Srinivasa, India’s High Commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda, was among those to visit Mathew and Das in hospital. His office has been working to help get the necessary permits and approvals to have Das transported to an overseas medical facility.

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