Vuda Fatal Crash Ends Young Student’s Dream

Her dreams of scooping a gold medal this year shattered.
12 Jan 2021 10:43
Vuda Fatal Crash Ends Young Student’s Dream
Iliseva Lewaqai with her two children. Vilimaina Vuniyayawa (right), and Nauru Vuniyayawa as she holds a photo of her late daughter Mereoni Lewasomo Vuniyayawa at Viseisei Village at Vuda, Lautoka. Photo: Mereleki Nai.

Mereoni Lewasomo Vuniyayawa had dreamed of scooping the gold medal for her class this year.

It came crashing down on Saturday night near her village at Viseisei Vuda in Lautoka.

The seven-year-old was killed in an alleged hit-and-run accident.

The victim’s grieving mother, Iliseva Lewaqai, said it was a joyful afternoon for them on Saturday. They were watching live the TC Yasa Appeal Concert where her daughter was imitating one of the artists.

“Before she left with her sister and her two cousins she was having a lot of fun with the whole family.

“As we were watching the live concert for Yasa in Suva, she stood in front of the TV screen and started imitating the artist, Aggie Vakaloloma. All her moves and her voice just made us laugh so hard.

“We didn’t know this was her last moment with us,” Mrs Lewaqai said tearfully.

The 46-year-old mother-of-four children said her second youngest child; Mereoni, had left with her elder sister and her two cousins to her uncle’s home at the other side of the village.

“It was not long after they had left, when her cousin came back in her car to convey the news that she was hit by a car and was taken to the hospital.

“When we arrived there with my husband it was too late she had died already. It hurts us so much. We carried her body around the hospital room and couldn’t stop crying over her.”

Mrs Lewaqai said her daughter was always happy.

“She is a happy child and also likes to make others happy. All those who pass by our house, she always greets them by calling out Cola (meaning hello).”

The victim would have been in Year 3 this year at Viseisei Primary School. Her mother said she was one of the top 10 students in Year 2 last year.

“Last year she came 2nd in her class. Starting from Year 1 she had been receiving certificates for her outstanding performance and leadership in her class. She was well-liked by her teachers and everybody around her.”

“This year she was looking forward to going back to school. She made a promise to us that she will scoop a gold medal of achievement for her class this year. She was a bright student and also a very humble child.

“Isa na luvequ, iko sa mositi au dina”! My child, you have hurt me so much” cried Mrs Lewaqai as she looked at her daughter’s photograph on the wall.

She said she had forgiven the driver.

“The driver who had caused the incident was our relative in the village. This is the first ever incident in this village, for a villager to die in a road accident within the village boundary and also was hit by another villager.”

The deceased will be laid to rest in her village on Friday.

Police have confirmed that a 23-year- old farmer has been charged with one count of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of failure to comply.

Police comments

Police spokeperson Savaira Tabua said that the incident occurred at Vuda Back Road last Saturday at around 7pm where the victim was walking along the said road.

Ms Tabua said the vehicle coming from Nadi lost control, veered off the road and bumped the victim.

Mereoni was conveyed to Lautoka Hospital by a passing vehicle and was later pronounced dead.

The driver who fled the scene of the accident was arrested on Sunday. He will be produced in court today.

Police are calling on all parents to monitor their children especially when the new school year starts next week.

The two fatals on our roads this year were school students.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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