The Belize Defence Force continues to mourn the loss of one of their own, Staff Sergeant Artemio Mendez, who died in a traffic accident on Wednesday, December 30, sometime after 8 p.m.
It happened just outside of Orange Walk Town at around mile 42 on the Northern Highway. Sgt. Mendez was driving an unmarked BDF-owned Mahindra pickup truck, as they were heading from Orange Walk to the Price Barracks compound in Ladyville when they crashed head-on into an ADO-Bus. The bus, which was heading from Belize to Cancun Mexico, was carrying, about 34 tourists, which included Belizeans. It was being driven at the time by Mexican, Mathias Gaspar Marcus. Inside the BDF Mahindra Pickup with Staff Sgt. Mendez was his colleague, Lieutenant Argel Flores. The front portion of the pick-up was crushed after the accident. The impact did not cause anyone to be injured in the bus, but both BDF soldiers suffered head and body injuries.
Staff Sgt. Mendez, who is a resident of Douglas Village in Orange Walk, died on the scene from the massive head and body injuries that he suffered. Lt. Flores rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital, where he was treated and released. He was then transported to the Price Barracks Compound, where the medical personnel are seeing to his recovery.
Shortly after the accident, the driver of the ADO Bus, Mathias Gaspar Marcus, fled the scene of a crime. Police later tracked him down, and he surrendered to police, and has since been given a notice of intended prosecution. Staff Sgt. Mendez had been a serving member of the BDF for the past 15 years, and at the time of his death, he was a member of the military’s intelligence apparatus.