Family grieves for truck driver killed by exploding tyre

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Rakesh Ramnarine –

The family of 38-year-old Rakesh Ramnarine are still trying to wrap their heads around the loss of their family member and friend, who was killed on Monday when one of his truck tyres exploded.

Newsday visited the family’s compound in Cap-de-Ville, Point Fortin, and spoke to Ramnarine’s cousin Venoode Maharaj.

Ramnarine’s mother, Indrawattie Ramnarine, was unable to speak to the media at the time as she was overcome with grief. His common-law wife Meera was not present as she was seeing about the paperwork needed for his burial.

Maharaj said Ramnarine, who recently celebrated his birthday on September 19, was a decent, loving person.

“He’s my older cousin by a couple years. He was one of the most generous loving persons you could know. If he had a single dollar remaining to give somebody or help somebody, he would have done it. He never used to get vexed with you, he never used to cause confusion or anything, he never used to be angry.

“Normally all the cousins would get together and get a cake and go camping down by Iros Bay for his birthday, but we didn’t get to do it this year. We both went to Cap-de-Ville Primary School and Cedros Comprehensive. He was a very loving person who would always look out for me.

Maharaj said Ramnarine was known for having a calming effect on people.

“You know how families are, where people sometimes fall out, he was the only one who used to keep a level head and bridge the gap with everybody. As far as friends and things go, and anybody you could ask, he was wonderful. We know him as a jolly person, always laughing, always together. Helpwise, anything he could give, he would.”

Around 9 am on Monday, Ramnarine stopped along the Eastern Main to repair a damaged line on his truck. He went into Satyavi’s Hardware & Electronics to ask for a screwdriver, and five minutes after leaving the store, an explosion was heard.

Video footage from the store showed Ramnarine reaching under the truck, between two of the rear tyres, when there was an explosion. When the smoke cleared, the truck’s tyre was shredded and Ramnarine was found lying between the truck and the pavement. He was alive but later died of internal injuries.

The truck, which was later removed to the Sangre Grande police station belonged to construction company Namalco Group. Maharaj said the company had been assisting the family since the tragedy.

“They provided us with tents and chairs and stuff. They also provided groceries and supplies for the wake. They also provided a driver to go back and forth to Forensics (the Forensic Sciences Centre in St James).

“His previous company, B K Holdings Ltd – Transport Services Trinidad, which deals with portable outdoor toilets, they’re providing that for us too.”

Newsday was told that no autopsy had yet been carried out.

No statement had been released by Namalco up to press time.

Police road safety project co-ordinator Sgt Brent Batson said the most common cause of truck tyre failure was improper inflation.

“When tyres are underinflated, they put more stress on the sidewalls and can easily become damaged. Similarly, overinflated tyres can fail especially if the vehicle’s maximum gross weight is exceeded or in situations where the tyre wall may have already been compromised by hitting a sharp curb or edge causing the tyre to swell or bulge.

“It’s important to regularly check tyre pressure and ensure that they are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended level. Professional truck drivers should always conduct pre-and post trip inspections for safety.” (With reporting by Roger Jacob and Gregory McBurnie)