THE Clarendon police yesterday appealed to students in the parish to use only authorised public passenger vehicles following a two-vehicle collision in Vernanfield in which 23 students from the Garvey Maceo High School in the parish were injured.

The accident, which happened around 9:00 am, reportedly involved a Toyota Picnic motor car and a Toyota Hiace minibus which was not licensed to operate as a public passenger vehicle. The bus driver reportedly fled the scene and was being sought by the police.

The police’s Corporate Communications Unit reported that one student, who was classified as serious, was airlifted to a hospital in Kingston, while the others were treated at the May Pen Hospital.

Yesterday, Minister of Transport Mike Henry called on the Transport Authority to determine the circumstances of the crash as the bus was licensed to carry only 15 passengers.

Henry said it was a clear case of overloading, and as such wants the Transport Authority to conduct their investigation with a view to ensure that public passenger vehicles are not overloaded at the loading points or excess passengers removed. He also said operators should face the consequences of their actions should they choose to disobey the rules of the road.

Henry, who expressed relief that there were no fatalities, said he was very concerned about passengers being transported safely and promised to step up efforts to launch the Urban/Rural transport system as soon as possible.

Henry, meanwhile, advised passengers to be responsible for their own safety by not allowing themselves to be “packed into buses and taxis like sardines”.

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