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Miramar accident survivor traveled to Costa Rica with two friends who died in the crash

Survivor of the Miramar crash said that they were returning from Monteverde to the capital, because this Saturday they would leaving Costa Rica

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QCOSTARICA – Leslie Wilson, 54, is the only survivor passenger of the tourist minibus involved in the fatal accident that occurred this Friday on the Interamerican Norte (Ruta 1) in the area of the Miramar de Montes de Oro, in Puntarenas.

Leslie Wilson upon arrival at the Monseñor Sanabria Hospital, in Puntarenas. She was discharged this Saturday. Photo: Andrés Garita

Her two travel companions, Lisa Renee Anderson (45) and *Amy Lin Johson (49), as well as Swiss passenger Fehle Valentin (25) and the driver of the minibus, Rafael Artavia Solís (60), perished in the traffic accident.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a Salvadoran identified as José Hernández, did not require a transfer to a medical center.

According to official sources, the fatal accident occurred in an apparent false overtaking made by the driver of the minibus.  Apparently, the driver accelerated to overtake a tractor-trailer, as is custom by many drivers to move forward on this two-lane road of the Ruta 1 from Barrance to Limonal.

However, the minibus hit the front side of the big rig, causing both drivers to lose control, the minibus crashing into some trees by the side of the road, with the trailer, with a load of four tons of sugar, landing on top of them.

Four people died and two others survived the violent accident between a tourist minibus and a tractor-trailer loaded with four tons of sugar. (Provided by Andrés Garita, GN correspondent)

Read more Miramar Accident: Two Americans and a Swiss Among the Four Dead in Collision

Wilson arrived in Costa Rica from Oregon on January 1 to enjoy San José, San Carlos, La Fortuna and Monteverde.

This Saturday, January 8, at 2 pm, she had planned to return to the U.S. in the company of her two traveling friends.

Wilson told La Nacion that it was in San Carlos where they met Rafael Eduardo Artavia and there they hired him to take them to La Fortuna and then to Monteverde, where they spent the night. It is at this last point where they met the Swiss national, with whom on Friday they were making their return to the capital.

Wilson, who only suffered blows to the left eye, her right arm and leg, was discharged this Saturday from the Monseñor Sanabria Hospital in Puntarenas. Remembering how the accident happened, around 9 am Friday, her memories are scarce. She says that she was talking with her friends when she felt the blow and then everything went “dark”.

First responders extracted her from the metal wreckage of the minibus, transferring her to the medical center, where she arrived around 10:30 am. According to her, it was from the hospital when she asked for a phone to be able to call her family back home and tell them that she was fine.

This was the second time that Leslie Wilson visited Costa Rica.

Regarding Rafael Eduardo Artavia, a native of San Pedro de Poás, in Alajuela, though he had been living in Cedral de Ciudad Quesada for several years. He leaves behind a daughter of almost 14 years old. According to social networks, he was a lover of cycling, literature and music and that he worked for a private company in tourism transport.

No information was available on the Swiss national.

The bus was totally crumpled. Photo: Andrés Garita

What happened on that fateful morning?

The driver of the tractor-trailer told La Teja, “when he (the driver of the bus) wanted to pass me, he didn’t quite succeed and hit me on the front tire of the truck, and that’s how he stole my stability; He passed in front of me spinning, we say, circling (losing control) and hit the tree, which perhaps you can appreciate how the accident happened.

“At that moment, I lost my stability. Thank God I didn’t end up underneath (the truck), but the load did fall on the van. That happened in a matter of moments.

“I managed to see it (the minibus) when it was already coming in front of me, next to me behind the wheel and I tried to brake so that he (the driver of the minibus) could pass me, but he rushed over and hit the tire front of the truck. From that moment, I resorted to fully activating the brakes (…). I left by my own means (from the trailer cab), I was scared because I was close to tipping over, and thank God am here telling the story,” narrated José Alfredo Hernández Ramírez, 49, narrated to La Teja in a short telephone conversation last Friday, shortly after the accident.

The “trailero” (tractor-trailer driver) said that he has been traveling regularly to Costa Rica since 1995, and, for the last six years, has been based here.

One of the most serious accidents

Authorities affirmed that the Friday morning traffic accident is one of the most serious accidents they have dealt with in recent months, due to the cumbersomeness, the complexity of the rescue and also because the rescuers’ lives were also in danger while they removed the victims.

authorities said this accident is one of the most complex that they have attended due to how the bus was so crumpled. Photo: Frank Ávila, Pegando Porte

According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), between 6 am and noon is the third time slot in which more road fatalities occur; the first is 6 pm to midnight and the second at noon at 6 pm.

The Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) the majority of deaths on the road have been of young people.

In 2021, 107 people between 21 and 30 years old lost their lives, three under 10 years old and 33 between 11 and 20 years old.

*Correction: in early reports, Amy Lin Johnson was identified as May Lin Johnson.

 

 

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