It was a tragic weekend in Benue State after a University don, wife and three children, his colleague at the University of Mkar and another were Saturday evening crushed to death by a trailer at Gbatse Village along Ugbema-Adikpo Road in Ushongo local government area of the state.
Relatedly the lifeless body of a young lady was also on Sunday morning recovered from a gutter on Calabar Street in the heart of Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
It was gathered from an eyewitness that the ghastly accident which occurred at about 5 pm involved a trucked conveying a scrapped vehicle and a stationary Toyota Camry car with registration number MKD-300-NH.
According to the eyewitness, the driver of the trailer who in an attempted to avoid a police checkpoint lost control of the vehicle and ran into the stationary Toyota car killing seven of the occupants while another sustained serious injury and in critical condition.
“The truck ran over the stationary car, crushing it with its occupants. It took the intervention of the police, the Road Safety personnel and other spirited individuals close to four hours to pull the ill-fated car and the remains of the victims which included women and children, from under the truck,” he said.
Among the first callers at the scene of the accident was the Ushongo Local Government Council Chairman, Mr Joseph Asawa who aborted a public function to rush to the scene to help in the rescue operation. He also directed bodies of the victims be deposited at a private hospital in Lessel town.
According to the witness, a search conducted on some of the victims and documents recovered at the scene identified the two University of Mkar Lecturers, Leva Joshua of the Mass Communication Department and Moses Tarnongo who was killed with his three children and wife as some of the victims. While a bank ATM Card belonging to one Adaa I. Blessing was also recovered from the scene.
The Police Public Relation Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene confirmed the incident as well as the recovery of a lifeless body in a gutter in Makurdi.
According to her, “the family of the girl whose body was discovered in the gutter was traced and they confirmed the corpse to be Angbiandoo Gbavaan who left the house the previous night and never returned. Her corpse has been deposited at Bishop Murray Morgue for autopsy while an investigation into the matter is still in progress.”
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has commiserated with the families of those who lost loved ones in the ghastly auto crash.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase described the incident as devastating and urged relevant agencies to investigate the unfortunate development.
Part of the statement read, “Governor Samuel Ortom sends heartfelt condolences to families of those who lost their lives when a truck crushed a stationary vehicle with all of its occupants yesterday at Gbatse in Ushongo Local Government Area of Benue State.
“The Governor’s sympathies also go to the management, staff and students of University of Mkar who lost two of their lecturers in the accident – Joseph Leva and Moses Tarnongo who died alongside his wife and three children.
“Governor Ortom prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed and consoled the bereaved families to look unto God for strength to bear the pain of losing their loved ones.”