‘She wasn’t drunk’
Family dismisses speculation as mom, teenage son killed in crash
Traumatic screams heard over the telephone during a crash on Monday, which claimed the life of a mother and her teenage son, were what alerted friends and family that something had gone horribly wrong.
Tameika Peart, 40, and her 17-year-old son, Jahlani Wright, died when the white BMW Peart was driving crashed near the entrance of the P.J. Patterson Highway along Mandela Highway some time after 2 a.m.
Peart’s 12-year-old son is the lone survivor of the single-vehicle crash as the family made their way from Olympic Gardens in St Andrew to their home in Cedar Grove, St Catherine.
Kathleen Saddler, Peart’s mother, was a shadow of herself when The Gleaner visited her home on Grassquit Glade in Kingston 11 on Monday evening as she tried to muster the strength to speak.
“She is jovial. She was my daughter and best, best, best, best friend. Anywhere she is going, is me and her. She owns a bar, so sometimes if you see liquor in her vehicle, she take a little liquor, but she carry it in her bar go put down,” Saddler said.
The family says widely circulated footage of the crash scene wrongly paints a picture that Peart was drinking or driving under the influence of alcohol.
“She was on the phone with someone and the accident occur and the pickney dem a scream,” Saddler said.
She added that the person then called someone and told them to call Peart as it appeared as if something terrible had happened.
Peart’s 12-year-old son answered the phone and confirmed their worst fears.
“We just left a round robin she host up by Boulevard and come here. When we leave Boulevard and come here (Olympic Gardens), she said she soon ready fi leave, and mi say, ‘When you ready fi leave, just shout me up’,” Saddler said, of their last conversation.
She described her grandson as a talented footballer, who represented St George’s College in schoolboy football.
The fourth-former was expected to start the Easter term on Monday morning.
“He is a nice grandson ... . Him love girls. Mi nuh know nothing really bad about him. Him nuh give trouble a school, but him love girls,” Saddler said, probably the only time she smiled throughout the interview.
Saddler kept glancing at her 12-year-old grandson, checking to see if he was okay as he sat, surrounded by children within his age group.
“He (12-year-old) was in the front and tried to get help,” a relative said.
The family has not recovered from the death of Peart’s first son Malek ‘Jamesy Boy’ Grannell, who died suddenly on September 9, 2018.
He, too, was 17 years old.
“As you can see his (Malek’s) picture is on the wall. The two of her sons died at 17 years old on the 9th of the month (September and January) preparing for school,” a family friend said.
“I see people posting [on social media] that a Campari bottle was there (on the scene). She wasn’t drinking. Even if she drank, is not Campari. She don’t drink Campari any at all. She never drunk; it just sad say she gone,” a family friend said, driving home her point that drunk driving was not a factor.
There was a large gathering of persons along the roadway at Grassquit Glade on Monday, seeking to help console the grieving family and pay their respects.
Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams was at the family home with other colleagues from the offices of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), where Peart was employed.
Williams told The Gleaner, “Tameika is a very jovial person, very community-oriented, very cooperative and committed to what she does. Generally, a nice and sociable person. Everyone here knows her. At KSAMC, it’s the same. She is a pleasure to be around; very committed to her children and took care of them.”
He said that a moment of silence will be observed at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“Generally, the mood of the staff is very low and persons are hurt,” Williams added.
The Ferry police are investigating the crash.
Road fatalities last year surpassed 2021 figures by 0.2 per cent.
As at December 31, some 488 persons had been killed in 425 fatal collisions on the nation’s roadways.
The year 2021 recorded 487 road fatalities.