Father blames indiscipline for teens’ fatal crash.

Amid the grief and anguishing pain of losing his only child, Isaac McIntyre is adamant that indiscipline on the part of his son caused him to die with his cousin.

Zackeal McIntyre, 14, and his 16-year-old cousin Ajani Robinson, grade 10 students of Petersfield High School in Westmoreland, died yesterday after the motorbike they were driving to school collided with a car heading in the opposite direction. According to police reports, the boys were travelling along the Petersfield main road when they lost control while manoeuvring a corner. The collision caused the car to burst into flame. The boys were taken to hospital where they died while being treated.

“It’s because of unruliness. I give him $2,000 every morning to go to school which includes paying his taxi fares and for his lunch,” McIntyre told THE STAR indicating that there was no need for Zackeal to be riding on a bike to and from school. He said Zackeal used to take a taxi to school in the mornings, but, on several occasions, came home on a motorbike.

“When he comes home in the evenings I kept reminding him to stop riding on that bike because I know someday I was going to hear some bad news about that bike,” he stated.

McIntyre, who recently returned from his seasonal farmwork programme in Canada, said he received countless reports of his son’s wayward attitudes.

“I told him to come and live with me because I heard that he was not behaving himself living with his mother and having come, I think things would be better,” the grieving father explained.

Ajani’s mother, Angella Hewitt, said that she still cannot believe that he is gone as she has not seen him.

“They don’t let me see him,” she said. The mother of seven said that Ajani’s twin sister and his grandmother fainted at the news of his death and had to seek medical attention at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital.

“God knows that I don’t know how to cope; I don’t know how to cope with it,” Hewitt said. She said that her son does not own a motorbike but she heard that he was riding on one to school for which has repeatedly encouraged him not to do.

“I don’t know. I heard about it and I asked him where he get the bike that he is riding to school in the mornings and he tells me that he is not riding any bike,” she said. Hewitt also denied knowing the owner of the bike on which the boys met their untimely end.

Vinton Vaz, acting principal of Petersfield High, said it’s unfortunate that two of his students died while riding a motorbike to school, even as the practice is prohibited by school rules.

“It is banned from Petersfield High School,” Vaz told THE STAR yesterday. “As a school, we do not condone it. They cannot park the bike on the compound or anywhere that we are aware of.”

He said the school’s dean of discipline, Junior Clarke, has called in parents on several occasions about their children riding to school. He admitted that there are several other students who are riding to school who the administrators have repeatedly warned.

“It’s the parents’ responsibility because they are leaving the parents’ home with the bikes and they can’t park it here,” Vaz argued. “We are not tolerating it. It’s against the school rules. The [authorities] will have to step in to assist us when it comes to policing the roads.”

As at November 21, the Island Traffic Authority’s Road Safety Unit reported that 361 persons have been killed from 329 collisions, with motorcyclists, pillions, and pedestrians being the highest among fatalities. Data also revealed that 32 motorcyclists and four pillion deaths have been recorded in Westmoreland.

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