After 7-year-old Maryse Wululran was hit by a drunk driver on the Tebakor street between Willie Jimmy’s nakamal and Sato Kilman’s residence, her paternal uncle, Graham Wululran, shared his concern towards reckless drivers from the Vila Central Hospital’s Children’s Ward just before Maryse was due to go to the operating theater for surgery.

Mr Wululran said drivers should always put themselves in the shoes of the children and their families especially while driving through a school zone or a heavily populated residential area.

He said while driving the drivers are safe, unlike the children who are walking who are always potential victims. Therefore, drivers should always think of the consequences, especially the pain and sadness it would cause if they fatally hit pedestrians.

Mr Wululran encouraged parents who pick up their children from school, especially those who walk to always keep to the side of the road and whenever they see a car coming to wait till it has passed before crossing the road with them.

He also reminds fellow parents that the road is for vehicles as the owners pay road tax for the road.

Wululran says Maryse is slowly recovering however he says there are a few ruptures or injuries which the doctors have not worked on yet.

The grade one student from Ecole Centreville is not eating what she usually would eat. Mr Wululran says she is only eating arrowroot biscuits and drinking water and other fluids.

He says the family feel that she is still badly injured. Maryse has her right arm broken in two places, a broken lower jaw, a few missing teeth and a broken right upper cheek bone.

Wululran appreciates the work of the doctors and says they are now trying to find ways to help Maryse recover.

Mr Wululran who is also a bus driver picked up Maryse from school along with his own two sons from neighbouring French school Ecole Catholique du Sainte Jeanne d’Arc. He recalled dropping them off on the right side of the road where he says they walked to the gate of their house.

He said the rental vehicle driven by the intoxicated President of PENAMA Province, Jackson Adin, approached them at a high speed despite the road works cones and the signs put up to slow drivers down.

Mr Wululran said the vehicle went off the road onto the pavement and hit Maryse right in front of her gate. He recalled the horror of seeing the little girl lying on the road after being knocked over and seeing her unconscious. He says she regained consciousness and showed signs of breathing, however she was bleeding heavily from her mouth.

He said he called Pro Medical and the Ambulance arrived and took Maryse to the hospital.

According to other family members present at the hospital, the allegedly drunk President of PENAMA Province reversed the rental vehicle and tried to exit on the street leading down the hill to Coral Motel but was blocked by angry bystanders who dragged the intoxicated man out of the vehicle and gave him a beating as a lesson for hitting the little girl. A lot of empty Tusker bottles and betel nut were found in the rental vehicle.

Staff from VCH’s surgical ward confirmed Mr Adin also sustained injuries from his beating, and was therefore discharged early from the hospital before Buzz 96.3’s Vanuatu Nightly News team arrived.

Maryse Wululran is the eldest of three children. Her parents and two younger brothers live at home in Walarano village on Malekula while Maryse lives in Vila with her paternal uncle.