On May 1, different domestic and international media reported three Venezuelan citizens died and five were injured after a water truck ran them over in the Republic of Peru while they were sleeping on the side of a road that was allegedly blocked in the province of Barranca.
Forced by harsh economic, social conditions, and after being evicted from their residences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the victims were part of a group of 12 Venezuelans who decided to return to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on foot from Lima, Peru’s capital city.
After three months of this unfortunate tragedy, the survivors, already on Venezuelan soil and in recovery, provided an account of the events.
“We started returning to Venezuela on April 28. The starting point was Plaza Norte. We did not know each other. Some of us were related, but the trip was coordinated through some groups in social media,” explains Frank Martínez, from La Victoria, Aragua State.
The day of the accident, says Martínez, after midnight, the group was exhausted, hungry and thirsty and decided to stop and take a rest on the Panamericana Norte road, which was blocked due to restorations of La Fortaleza bridge.
“It is a two-way road, and we were sleeping behind the road shoulder line. Some Peruvian families were near spending the night too. The police had already passed by and did not quibble. I mean, an accident never crossed our minds.”
However, according to Martínez, the water truck that ran them over that morning had already passed by in the opposite direction around 4:30 am because it was authorized to water some crops in the surrounding area.
“They saw us, and on their way back, they ran us over around 5:10 am. We think it was not an accident. They did it with malice. In fact, our suitcases were next to us, pretty visible, and they were all destroyed,” he stressed.
The rest of the group tells that the driver sped up, hit and ran without looking back. He was captured minutes later at a close-by tollbooth, but claimed the truck had mechanical failures and they let him go. The water truck was seized for allegedly further investigation.
“Those who were not injured asked vehicles for help, but they would not stop. We finally got help after 7:00 am. A man on a motorcycle called the police, and ambulances showed up later, but one of our compatriots died waiting. The company that dispatched the water truck did not cover any costs,” he pointed out.
Those Venezuelans who died and were injured were taken to the Municipal Hospital of Barranca-Cajatambo by ambulances of the mobile emergency aid service (SAMU) and volunteer firemen.
José Gil died 20 minutes later in the Hospital of Barrancas, and Yoibi Adriana Carrasquel and José Quaroz during surgery.
Ana Karina Rivas suffered fractures of tibia, fibula, ankle, and skin necrosis; Jhony Puerta suffered severe foot and ankle attrition; Emiliano Villasana, minor contusion of right foot; and Frank Martínez sustained fracture of left foot and amputation of two toes.
Rivas stressed that no Peruvian authority took responsibility or even showed up.
Likewise, she highlighted that they filed a complaint, but the attorney in charge insisted they should wait until quarantine due to the pandemic was over.
On the other hand, the victims thanked the Venezuelan Consulate in Peru for its support to pay medical expenses and their return to their country. “We are very grateful to Mr. Jean Carlos Evans, Mr. Ernesto Guevara and Consul Vivian,” said Rivas.
These Venezuelans have been kept in quarantine since June 21 at the Los Caracas Vacation Complex to continue their treatment and therapy.