State ‘blanks’ widow and children of Portuguese man mown down and killed by ministerial car

No-one in government, nor the President of the Republic, have offered any kind of assistance to the widow and teenage daughters of the man whose life was lost when he was mown down by a ministerial car.

The tragedy was reported last week (with practically no reference even made to the man’s family click here).

It now appears that 43-year-old road maintenance worker Nuno Santos was the only ‘wage earner’ in his household. Without him his wife and children literally have no idea how they are going to afford to eat, let alone anything else.

Marta, Nuno’s widow, received a letter of condolence from Eduardo Cabrita, the minister being transported in the BMW which collided with her husband on the A6 motorway. 

She also received a call to the same effect from an assistant in the office of the President. 

But “no one asked her if she needed help”, writes Correio da Manhã – seemingly the only national newspaper to have sounded this woman out.

“No one wanted even to know if we had the money to pay for the funeral”, Marta tells the paper.

A televised interview with Marta is going to be broadcast much later tonight, but the bottom line is that she has no idea how to face the future.

“Nuno was my husband, my best friend. He was a wonderful father, he lived for the family, for his daughters”, she tells the paper.

She and her children “still wait for the door to open” in the evenings. “It’s as if we think he is going to arrive; sit down on the sofa and tell us all about his day…”

The whole episode surrounding Mr Santos’ death has seemed ‘off’ in some way. Right from the beginning, with two statements coming from the ministry alluding to ‘no signs of works going ahead on the road’, the inference was that the government must appear blameless.

Yet as CM and other news sources have pointed out, there has been no mention of the speed at which Mr Cabrita’s BMW driver was travelling.

In the words of the paper: “there is no doubt that it was going at over 120 kms per hour”.

The signs for this involve “the force of impact; the fact that the driver didn’t see the (road maintenance) worker step out from the central reservation and the fact that the car was travelling on a straight piece of road”.

CM explains that it is “easy” to calculate the speed of the BMW when it hit Mr Santos, “first from the information collected from the ECU of the car (engine control unit)” second “by estimating the speed through motorway CCTV cameras. One can see which minute it passed one of them, and then which minute it passed another. From here it is easy to come to an average. The car that caused the accident was travelling at over 200 kms/ hour”, says the paper. In other words, it was travelling in excess of roughly 80kms/ hour over the legal limit.

CM is often viewed as a “scurrilous rag” but when it comes to situations like these it would seem to be doing exactly what a newspaper should do.

It was CM that reported no-one from the government attending Mr Santos’ funeral last week, too.

According to Marta, she did receive flowers. Not from anyone in an official capacity. They came via a florist, with a message of condolence again from the Minister of Interior Administration.

It has to be recalled that Mr Cabrita faced vehement criticism earlier this year for his handling of the violent death of another man killed by agents of the State (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com