Vacation break reduces traffic and puts police on alert

Many Costa Rican families are on vacation until July 16 because the public schools are too.

There was a discernible push toward the Pacific beaches Friday, and traffic was slow mainly at the short bypass around the hole in the westbound lanes of the key General Cañas highway.

Later and through Sunday traffic was reported lighter than normal with no delays.

There already were two unusual and fatal accidents reported. Saturday morning a man lost control of his vehicle on the Interamericana Norte in Abangares and the car killed four men on their way to a bus stop and work as it left the road, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. Three of the workmen died at the scene and the fourth died later at  Hospital Monseñor Víctor Manuel Sanabria in Puntarenas. The driver and a passenger also were injured.

Saturday night on Ruta 142 between  Cañas and Tilarán a truck loaded with scrap metal appears to have lost its brakes and struck a microbus containing a family of seven. A 37-year-old woman died and the others suffered a range of injuries, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. Agents detained the 33-year-old truck driver for investigation.

In another case, a man was found dead on Ruta 27, the Caldera highway, early Sunday. He appeared to have suffered a head wound, although it still is uncertain if he was a traffic fatality. The body was found in an eastbound lane.

The Fuerza Pública issued its standard warning about leaving a home unprotected during a vacation period. The director general of the police force,  Juan José Andrade Morales, also urged residents to remain calm if bandits violently barge into a home. He said officers would try to keep a close eye on residential areas.

Also on vacation alert are the  Policía Turística, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea of the security ministry.

Traffic police have their hands full at the scene of the crater on the General Cañas highway. The agency has canceled the central city restrictions on license plate numbers for two weeks.

A bailey bridge over the crater in the highway probably will not be in service until Tuesday morning, said the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. Officials blamed heavy rains for delaying work on the approaches to the temporary span. The bridge is 90 centimeters or nearly three feet above the highway, so workmen are building ramps. The bridge was supposed to be open Friday. A bypass using one of the eastbound lanes appears to have kept traffic moving.

The Fuerza Pública gave these tips for vacationers:
• Anyone who sees people breaking into a home should call 911 and not assume that the event is a police raid;

• residents should report any activity involved in moving furniture from a home, particularly if the occupants are on vacation;

• vacationers should turn off the lights and have someone trustworthy keep an eye on the home;

• vacationers should disconnect the telephone so crooks will not know that no one is home by hearing the phone ring and ring.

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