A taxi driver and four of his passengers are lucky they survived this traffic accident unscathed. Just the pictures tell the story of a really hard impact as taxi driver Tico Funez rammed and almost completely snapped a utility pole on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
Funez was driving his taxi minivan through the Boca Del Rio residential area when he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the utility pole across the street of Tres Hermanos Hardware Store at about 7p.m.
One eye witness tells Ambergris Today that she heard a very large bang and when she looked outside her window a large cloud of dust filled the street, hiding the taxi from sight. Once the dust cleared it was evident that the accident was very serious. The vehicle traveled a few feet from where it hit the utility pole that supports high tension wires.
It took the taxi driver about ten minutes to get out of the vehicle as it was clear that he was in shock, plus both front doors would not open initially. He, along with his four passengers, was taken for a medical checkup; unbelievably no one was hurt. Funez was taken to the San Pedro Police Department by a traffic warden who picked him up.
Reports from residents tell that Funez was seen speeding around the neighborhood all that afternoon and that he had allegedly been drinking. An angry resident confronted Funez at the site of the accident as he nearly also crashed with a golf cart, with his family members, traveling in the opposite direction and passersby. Funez had also just recently obtained his permit to operate a taxi.
Belize Electricity Limited linesmen arrived on site to assess the damage and told Ambergris Today that the leaning utility pole posed no threat to falling on nearby homes; they will eventually replace it.
On a positive note, Chris Nuñez, Chairman of the San Pedro Transport Department, informed Ambergris Today that the department has just recently acquired a radar gun and a breathalyzer which will be used to prevent accidents just like this one which involve unnecessary speeding and drunk driving. These items will soon be used by the traffic wardens that are on patrol. Another issue which the Department will start targeting as of June will be that of excessive window tinting. Vehicle owners with dark tint on the side windows and front windshield will be required to remove them.
More information on the traffic accident and news from the Traffic Department to come as it becomes available.
Twenty one year old, Tico Funez, taxi driver of Boca Del Rio Area was arrested and charged for (i) Driving motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit and (ii) Driving without due care and attention.