Grief-stricken relatives mourn 5 killed in crash, say passers-by stole cash, cell phones from victims
Thousands of dollars and cell phones reportedly stolen from the five victims in Sunday’s deadly crash along the Temple Hall main road in St Andrew have not gone unnoticed by their relatives, who are now stricken by grief as they prepare to face the...
Thousands of dollars and cell phones reportedly stolen from the five victims in Sunday’s deadly crash along the Temple Hall main road in St Andrew have not gone unnoticed by their relatives, who are now stricken by grief as they prepare to face the reality of planning a mass burial.
The five men, who are relatives from Luna Field and Border in rural St Andrew, left their home for a party and did not make it back.
The men, who were travelling on three motorcycles, collided with a Toyota Hiace minibus, heading in the opposite direction, about 9:45 p.m. on Sunday. The driver of the bus was also taken to hospital.
The deceased have been identified as Raheme Campbell, 19; Romario Moodie, 17; Tajay Murray, 20; Jamie Marriott, 25; and Anthony Fuller, 20.
Four of the victims are believed to have died at the scene, while Campbell took his last breath en route to the hospital.
A relative, who requested anonymity, told The Gleaner that one of the dead men had in excess of $300,000 on his person, adding that cell phones belonging to the men are also unaccounted for.
“Right now, that money which was being used to finish a house could have gone to help with funeral. Is not everybody weh deh a accident scene deh deh fi help,” the relative said.
Murray’s grandmother, Inez Phipps, told The Gleaner that the young men were cousins and nephews by relation.
She said that she had already retired to bed on Sunday night, but awoke shortly after to the dreadful news.
On Monday, she mustered up the strength to finally visit the crash scene.
“He (Tajay) was humble and very jovial … . There was a bingo party in the district and mi say, ‘Tajay, go to that party’, and him say no, him fren a have a birthday party a Stony Hill. A it dem go and coming back. Death. They never made it back home,” Phipps said.
Phipps said Murray, who worked at a call centre, wanted to buy a car but was working towards building a home first.
“Mi tell him, ‘Bike nuh done mek. Get rid of the bike’, and in a January him say him a go get rid of the bike and buy a car, but him want set up him house first,” Phipps said.
Murray’s mother, Sharona Beverly, is a Gleaner vendor, and although she, too, often warned him about the dangers of riding a motorcycle, she did not anticipate that her darkest day would come.
“Tajay nuh give problem. Him did want go in a the army. Him do the test and dem say him fail. Him go back and do the police test and a wait on their call and him go do the call centre work,” said Beverly.
Moodie’s mother, Althea Davidson, who is also a Gleaner vendor, told our news team that she was only made aware of the fatal accident on Monday.
“He lives with his father and stepmother … . Mi can’t manage. Mi just bury my mother and mi nuh get over that yet ‘cause a pon mi birthday she dead. Yesterday (Sunday), mi and him deh up here the whole time and mi beg him nuh go pon di bike. Is like mi see it,” she said.
Davidson told The Gleaner that her other son would probably have been among the dead if there was a fourth bike in tow.
“A mi first boy pickney and him is the first child for his father … . The five of dem nuh lef dem one another,” she said.
Indiana Campbell, Raheme’s mother, said that she was unaware that her son was out.
“My son run come to my room and said that him hear say Raheme crash and dead. Mi just get the van key and head out there … . I hear when the bike was leaving, but never know [it was] Raheme on the bike,” Campbell said, adding that she was floored by the news.
She said that Raheme, who wanted to become a mechanic, was always fixing vehicles and should have started Jamaican-German Automotive School soon.
He was the custodian mechanic among his friends and last fixed the rims on one of the ill-fated bikes on Sunday afternoon.
Campbell said that four of the boys ate at her house on Sunday.
“I don’t like motorcycle, but him like it. I always tell him to take his time and ride. When he had his [own] bike and used to carry me, him tek him time. We sell that bike and a save to buy the van,” Campbell said.
She was concerned about the slow response to assist Raheme at the accident scene and believes more could have been done to save her son.
None of the men were wearing helmets.
Under the new Road Traffic Act, which came into effect on February 1, all motorcyclists are required to wear a protective helmet that provides full coverage for the face, has an adjustable visor and a hard outer shell.
The birthday celebrant, whose get-together the men attended, could not be reached on Monday, but he was at the crash scene when The Gleaner arrived at the location on Sunday. He was seen wishfully trying to wake his friends, who just left his side.
A senior policeman confirmed hearing about the missing funds and other valuables, but noted that the area where the crash occurred is not properly lit and the police were not the first responders.
The St Andrew North police’s traffic department is investigating the fatal crash.
The Road Safety Unit said that some 12 fatalities were recorded over the weekend.
Since the start of the year, 67 lives have been lost to road crashes, resulting from 58 fatal collisions.