Roadside memorial for Silvia Lynch

POSTED: 05/7/12 9:46 PM

St. Maarten – Yesterday it was exactly a year ago that 12-year-old Silvia Lynch lost her life on the Sucker Garden Road in an accident caused by a truck driver who failed to slow down even after he saw a school bus park halfway across the road near the Gas King.

The school girl had just left the bus, when the truck hit her. She died on the spot. Relatives of the victim placed flowers and colorful balloons on the spot where the accident happened yesterday.

Silvia Lynch was a sixth-grader at the Marie Genevieve de Weever School who was looking forward to attending Milton Peters College. She was also in Urmain Dormoy’s Generation New Status STM band, and a member of the French-side Restorers of Broken Walls Congregation.

In March of this year the court in first instance sentenced the truck driver that caused the accident, Manuel de Jesus Marlin Benitez, to a 9-month conditional prison sentence and 240 hours of community service. His driver’s license was conditionally revoked for two years and he is under probation for 2 years as well.

The traffic accident should never have happened, because the traffic ordinance decrees that heavy traffic is not allowed to be on the road between six thirty and eight thirty in the morning and between twelve noon and two o’clock in the afternoon. The accident happened at twenty minutes past one.

The defendant was driving a truck loaded with gravel. Its total weight was a bit over 35 ton.

The truck driver claimed that he had been driving slowly, but witnesses told investigators that he had been frantically hooting when he came down the hill and that he had not shown any indication that he planned to stop.

“The defendant has caused a tragic accident that cost Sylvia Lynch her life. This great loss for the family cannot be expressed in any punishment. And yet the court has to decide about a fitting punishment,” Judge Mr. Monique Keppels wrote in her considerations in the March-verdict.

The current roadside memorial shows that Silvia has not been forgotten.

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