Relatives of a 72-year-old woman who was reportedly struck and killed along the St Barnabas stretch of the ABC highway at the weekend, say they are having trouble accepting the story they have been told about how the elderly woman died.
According to police, Ione Dorothy Gilkes met her death after she was struck by a car driven by Carolyn Wickham of West Terrace, St James around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Gilkes died on the spot.
Since then, reports circulating on social media have indicated that the elderly woman was attempting to cross over the busy highway by jumping over the Jersey barriers.
Today, distraught family members and friends were gathered at her sister Wilma’s home at Meadow Road, Wildey, St Michael reflecting on their loss.
They told Barbados TODAY that while the news of her death had come as a blow, they were equally saddened by the reports, which seem to indicate that their elderly relative was responsible for her own death.
Most upset was Gilkes’ niece Karen Gilkes who is in total disbelief despite what she had been hearing and reading on social media.
As she joined with family members in grieving the loss of their beloved relative, Karen was insistent that the elderly woman could not have made it over the barriers to the spot where she died.
“We want proof to see if she really went over dem Jersey bars. We do not believe it. Not all of these years I know my aunt. I does see water works men and school children going over [the Jersey barriers], not that woman at the sort of age,” Gilkes said.
However, Karen acknowledged that the stretch of the highway where the accident occurred, which is in close proximity to the state-run Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), was very dark. Her own hunch is that her aunt may have been fleeing from danger when she died.
“All out there dark. The walkway dark and the bush in the corner of the walkway very dark. Even the walk-over dark. From CBC and all down that road very dark. And I can tell you from experience because I drive out there every night.
“We don’t want to go by hearsay because she could have gotten robbed and run in the road. We more believe that somebody was trying to rob she and she was running to safety,” Gilkes added.
Equally emotional was the dead woman’s younger sibling Wilma, who declared, “my sister was not mad”.
In fact, the mother of six boys and several grandchildren was best remembered as a nice woman who got along with everyone in the neighbourhood.
Although not sure where she was coming from on the ill-fated night, family members recalled that Gilkes, a talented seamstress, was active up to her death and visited Bridgetown often where she went to play horse racing betting games.
Among those still in disbelief over her passing is Genetha Agard, her friend of almost 40 years. She told Barbados TODAY Gilkes would never have put herself in harm’s way.
In fact, she recalled that only last Tuesday Gilkes had told her life was made for living and meant to be enjoyed. Therefore, the rumours and speculation that have followed her death have left Agard deeply worried and sad.
“Somebody in that frame of mind gine jump over somewhere? Dory loved life, she would have never, ever do that. Never! She loved life.
“I would have had to see she jumping over there. And Dory had a bad hip, I can’t see she jumping over them things. Somebody probably did doing she something and she tried to get away,” Agard insisted. Gilkes is the country’s first road fatality for the year.