| 14 ENE 2014, 12:00 AM

Death of General De la Cruz Martinez affects deeply National Police

He perished in an accident on Duarte Highway when the vehicle he was in fell from a bridge

BONAO. Grief and sorrow among the National Police, relatives and friends was caused by the tragic death of Brigadier General Juan Ramon de la Cruz Martinez, who was fatally injured in a traffic accident on the Duarte Highway.

De la Cruz Martinez died when the SUV in which he was returning from Santiago to Bonao, together with his family and a Police escort, fell from the bridge over the Jatubey River in the community of Los Quemados.

The officer was travelling accompanied by his wife, Elvira Rodriguez, his son Oliver-who was the driver-and the Police agent Cristian Ariel Marte, who were hospitalized in the Juan Bosch Trauma Hospital in La Vega.

The deputy director of the hospital, Dr Jose Luis Coronado, said that the general's wife has not been told of her husband's death in order not to affect her own recovery. The body of the general was taken to the Marchena Hospital in Bonao.

During the afternoon, the wife and son were taken by helicopter to the General Hospital of the National Police, while the Police agent Ariel Marte was taken there in an ambulance.

De la Cruz Martinez, who was in the front seat of the SUV, was decapitated when the vehicle crashed into the retaining wall of the bridge, according to one of the rescuers.

The rescue operation was covered with a green cloth and the officer's body was not allowed to be seen. He was returning from Santiago where he had participated in a birthday party of one of his friends in the business community.

The Chief of the National Police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, who was present at the accident site, explained that the death of the general represented a great loss for the institution that he heads up.

"With the death of the general, one of the best men in the Police is lost. He was a complete, professional and untiring worker in the fight against crime. In each place where he worked he carried out his job with efficiency and responsibility," he said.

The Chief of the Police said that the preliminary investigations indicate that when the SUV reached the Jatubey Bridge, a tire exploded, the driver lost control and the vehicle went over the side, falling into the river in a rocky area surrounded by weeds. The fall was nearly 20 meters.

The accident occurred approximately at 7:35 a.m., and when the body was recovered it was 9:40 a.m. Later, the white Toyota SUV was hauled out of the river with a crane.

Traffic was backed up along the Duarte Highway as a multitude of persons congregated at the accident scene.

During the 1980s, De la Cruz Martinez, who was a colonel at the time, worked as the public relations director for the Police.

He later occupied the position of chief at several police commands, both in the Cibao (Santiago) and the South. At the present time he was the commander of the Cibao South Command of the National Police with his headquarters in the city of Bonao.
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