The “very stupid” accident at Campaign Castle, St George last evening that led to the death of a 13-year-old boy could have been prevented if the authorities had listened to the repeated calls by residents to put street lights in the area, the boy’s eldest sister said.
Police said Hannaniah Arman Jadiel Handsy Reeves was struck by a car driven by 59-year-old David Ash of Thorpes, St James around 6:45 p.m.
They said preliminary investigations suggested that Hannaniah had disembarked a minibus and was attempting to cross the road in front of the public service vehicle when he was struck by the car driven by Ash, who was overtaking the minibus.
Hannaniah, who was returning home from running an errand, was rushed to the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
The teenager’s sister Roshana Reeves could not mask her anger and pain today as she told the media that repeated calls for the area to be lit had fallen on deaf ears.
“For years we’re calling for street lights on this roads. You go down to that bus stop, you got to be using a [cell phone] light to see [and] for somebody at that bus stop to see you on a night,” she said.
Hannaniah was the 19th person to die on the road so far this year – one short of twice the ten fatalities for all of last year – and it brought back memories of 12-year-old Destiny Martina Thompson, of Vine Yard, St Philip, a pupil of Springer Memorial Secondary School, who was similarly struck down at Boarded Hall Main Road, St George in February, as she attempted to cross the road behind a minibus from which she had disembarked.
Police had said Destiny was at the time the second road fatality for the year involving a pedestrian being killed in similar circumstances.
While lighting was not an issue in Destiny’s case, road safety advocates have often blamed poor lighting for some of the fatal accidents here.
Roshana said she was hopeful that her brother’s death would not be in vain.
“The only way they do something is when somebody get hurt. Somebody get hurt now, so I want to see when they are going to put the street lights. This is years. This is ridiculous. Nobody can’t see nothing, nothing at all and it is not right,” she said.
The pain felt by family members was raw today, and nowhere was it more evident than on the face of the boy’s mother Rosalind Greene, who ventured out of her house but could not utter a single word.
A male member of the family openly wept in the veranda of the family home while hugging a small child.
Therefore, it was left to the 25-year-old Roshana, who had not slept since the accident, to try to put into words the grief and anger that they all felt.
“It was stupid, very stupid . . . because as a normal person we see a van stop with a certain number of cars behind it, you would think that something is wrong [because] a number cars there.
“You should automatically think that something is wrong. You shouldn’t overtake all the cars if nobody isn’t calling you over. The other cars know that somebody was there trying to cross . . . so he [the driver] could have at least waited,” she said.
Roshana said her brother, a student of Princess Margaret Secondary School, was not academically gifted, but had strong practical skills.
“He could make anything with his hands, from a mouse trap back down to a house, back down to a kite. Any single thing he can do with his hands,” she revealed.
Like many an accident and fatal shooting here, last evening’s accident quickly spread on social media.
It is a trend that worries not just police, but relatives of victims, some of whom receive news of the demise of their loved ones via this avenue.
And it was through social media that Hannaniah’s classmates first discovered that he had died in a road accident.
Deputy Principal of Princess Margaret Secondary School Robin Douglas said the students were traumatized and had to undergo counselling.
“It was particularly upsetting that there was an indiscrete video being circulated of the little boy in his injured state, so they had the unfortunate luck of having that being the way they found out,” Douglas said.
“It was very disappointing that we were not able to manage that circumstance as opposed to getting them together and telling them all at once or having persons in place to inform them or be there for them as they learn the news as opposed to them seeing horrible footage,” he added.
In August, after 23-year-old Renaldo Gittens and 21-year-old Kyle Rico Sad Boy Burgess, both of Eastpoint, St Philip were gunned down in Marley Vale, St Philip, a relative of one of the victims pleaded with persons posting photos of the dead men to spare a thought for the families, and the emotional effect the practice was having on relatives.
Roshana made a similar plea today, as she criticized as insensitive, the bystanders who filmed the accident and promptly circulated it on social media instead of trying to help.
“It needs to stop because the first thing people run to do is take out a phone. You could at least help but the first thing you going to do is run and take out a phone . . . record it and send it over the place without considering other people. You don’t know how other people are feeling.
“Suppose it was you, your brother, sister, mother or someone that got lick down, you wouldn’t want it all over social media so you shouldn’t do it to somebody else,” she said.