Gut-wrenching screams echoed throughout the home of Makita Broomes-Chase at Packers, St Patricks, Christ Church, as news came of the death of her son, Shamar Chase, 17, the 24th road death in this country.
“I can’t believe that he gone” were the only words the mother of two could muster as she was comforted by family and friends, as she clung to a relative sobbing loudly and shaking in disbelief that her son was dead.
The St George Secondary School alumnus was riding his bicycle along the junction of Rock Hall Road and Oldbury, St Philip, when he was struck by a car around 10:40 p.m. and died at the scene.
His sudden death sent shockwaves throughout the eastern Christ Church community, and a crushing blow for his sister, Chrisann as she celebrated her 24th birthday yesterday and his mother her own birthday this Friday.
Now birthday celebrations have made way for funeral arrangements for a teenager whom they described as loving, helpful and kind.
As her daughter broke down next to her from the loss of her youngest child, grandmother Evelyn Chase maintained a stoic expression, until she recalled the grave phone call that delivered the news of his death.
Tears trickled down Chase’s face as she reminisced about the brief, final conversation she had with her grandson on Sunday morning: “‘How you doing?’ ‘I good’”.
Chase recalled: “He was a very nice child. He would help you, if he see you walking with a bag and [struggling] he would come and take it from you. You don’t have to know him or nothing he would just do that for you.”
Shamar was quite a handful in his pre-teen years, but thankfully as he matured he changed his ways, grandfather Perry Chase told Barbados TODAY. Even though the two had their disagreements, Chase said, he could always count on his grandson to run an errand for him.
Well-known in Packers for playing road tennis or football with neighbourhood boys, his death has left older brother Shaquille Chase and his friends in “shambles” after receiving the news of his passing, he said.
“He was a good fellow and he used to do anything for anybody,” the brother remembered. Just when he was about to go to bed last night, their father Percy Chase called him with the news, leaving him in complete disbelief until Shamar’s body was identified by family.
Uncle Roosevelt Broomes described his nephew, who worked as a baker and did odd jobs, as hardworking and determined.
“If I call and say, ‘Shamar, I want a lawn cut’ and tell him where to go, he would get the [weed-whacker] and cut it for me,” said Broomes, who added, “he is a cool fellow”.
“We need to exercise extreme caution on our streets – the 24 persons who would have lost their lives on our streets are 24 too many,” Sargeant Seibert Johnson said on this morning’s traffic report broadcast, as police continue their investigations into how the teen cyclist met his death after being struck by a car.
With three months left in 2018, the road death toll is just four short of last year’s tally of 28.
But the statistic does nothing to capture the grief of a family and community, struggling to bear the latest unbearable loss, this time of a boy on the cusp of becoming a man.