By FRANCIS JOSEPH, www.newsday.co.tt
A TRINIDADIAN couple was among six persons killed when Hurricane Jeanne swept across Florida over the weekend. They were identified as Don Rogers, 44, a mortgage analyst, and his wife Leaber Hamlet-Rogers, 37, a nurse. They were high-school sweethearts from Point Fortin. They had gone to New York to take their daughter to Syracuse University when they heard that yet another hurricane was heading to their Florida home. The Rogers were returning to Florida when the accident occurred, investigators added. They had previously survived Charley, Frances, and Ivan.
According to reports, the Rogers’ were on their way to a baptism on Saturday when their sports utility vehicle (SUV) plunged into a 40-foot canal on the eastbound Sawgrass Expressway as high winds preceded the dangerous Hurricane Jeanne. A tow truck recovered a submerged white 2002 Nissan Pathfinder about 10.30 am on Sunday, about 16 hours after a state trooper noticed skid marks near the canal off the Sawgrass Expressway between Lyons Road and State Road 441. The roof was flattened, and the rear of the vehicle had a large dent. Mrs Rogers, who was in the front passenger’s seat was wearing a seat belt. Members of the Broward Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered her husband’s body from the canal on Sunday afternoon.
The drowning deaths were stinging reminders of Jeanne’s brutal blow, which claimed the lives of six people. Although the police withheld the names of the Trinidadians, neighbours and friends identified the Rogers as high-school sweethearts. “The cause of the accident is under investigation,” said Lt Pat Santangelo, when interviewed by Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper. “Right now it could be anything. It could be a hit-and-run. Most likely it was a wind-related accident.” A state trooper noticed skid marks in the grassy shoulder leading into the canal about 6 pm on Saturday. He requested a Sheriff’s Office dive team, but both police agencies postponed the search until Sunday morning to avoid injuries to deputies, said Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesman Hugh Graf.
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