By Gloridene Hoyte
Friends of 13-year-old Dezy Lavia, of Sandy Bay, who died after he was struck by a minivan while cycling in Orange Hill on Sunday evening have described him as a fun and jovial person.
Police said on Monday that they have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, which occurred around 6:50 p.m. on Sunday.
Motor vehicle HV112, a Toyota Hiace, owned by Larnet Ballantyne, of Sandy Bay, and driven by Kashaka Holder, 38, of Byrea, struck Lavia as the vehicle was headed toward Sandy Bay, police said.
The teen suffered multiple injuries to his body and was taken to Georgetown Medical Centre before being transferred to Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A postmortem examination is expected to be carried out on Lavia’s body to ascertain the exact cause of death, police said.
Three other teens who were present when the accident occurred told iWitness News that six of them, all of them residents of Sandy Bay, were cycling together.
The teens, who are also students of Sandy Bay Secondary School, had planned to cycle to Georgetown.
However, one of the bikes got a flat tire in Magum and after fixing it they decided to return home.
One of the teens told iWitness News that another youth who was not in the group originally met them in Magum and “hyped up” Lavia to go to Georgetown as they had initially planned. Lavia convinced the group to do so, the teen said.
One of the teens said it is a normal thing for them to go cycling on weekends.
They said that as they were riding in the area of the arch on their way to Georgetown, the van was coming in the opposite direction and struck Lavia, who was in front.
Another of the cyclists fell of his bicycle and bruised his right side, elbow and knee
“The driver tried to stop the van, but it slid and went in the drain,” he said.
“In the first place, if we did turn back when we say we turning back all this wouldn’t happen,” one of the teens told iWitness News.
Police said that Holder is assisting with their investigation and people with information that can assist the investigation are asked to contact investigators at 1-784-458-6229.
“All information collected will be strictly confidential. Investigations into the matter are ongoing,” police said.
On Monday, Jonicia Lavia, the teen’s aunt, told iWitness News that the teen was a fan of bikes.
She described him as someone “who would always make you laugh and even though he was vex, you would never know”.