Cheating death: Jamaican guard disembarked vehicle minutes before four killed in Highway collision

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Cheating death: Jamaican guard disembarked vehicle minutes before four killed in Highway collision
Rihanna Howard

(JAMAICA GLEANER) — Kymani Steele is still in shock as he remembers disembarking the Toyota Fielder death car around 15 minutes before a fiery collision along the Queen’s Highway in St Ann killed four members of a family on Sunday morning.

Steele, a security guard, looked on in disbelief as he saw the bodies arriving at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital hours after he had cheated death. What makes the event more chilling is that he remembers them discussing the probability of accidents during the journey.

“Mi give thanks to be alive but feel bad that everybody gone. Nobody had a chance to tell the tale,” Steele told The Gleaner Sunday night.

Beatrice Brown, who lives in the community of Grierfield, lost two daughters, a granddaughter and a son-in-law in the accident.

Brown said she broke down when she first heard the news.

“Is an awful death. Everybody feel it,” she told The Gleaner Sunday night.

As friends and neighbours from Grierfield and Gibraltar district near Moneague, where the crash victims lived, converged on Brown’s home in a show of support, they encouraged her to pray and remain strong.

“Dem bearing up, yuh nuh. Dem feel it, but dem bearing up,” Brown said.

The police reported that at about 7:50 a.m., a Toyota Fielder motor car with four persons on board was travelling westward towards Trelawny when it got out of control and slammed into a Mercedes-Benz travelling in the opposite direction.

The Fielder then overturned and burst into flames. Two occupants of the car were flung from the vehicle but two were trapped inside and burnt to death.

The victims have been identified as sisters Kadean Howard, 34, and Rihanna Howard, 14, along with Kadean’s daughter, Jade-Ann McLean, 13, and Jason Gayle, Kadean’s common-law husband. He was the driver of the ill-fated vehicle.

Kadean was reportedly pregnant.

Lloyd Garrick, former councillor for the Moneague division, knew Kadean well as she had worked with him during his campaign. He said he was devastated when he heard the news and prayed it wasn’t her who was in the accident.

“When I heard of the accident, I was shocked, I was sad, I was out of my place. Even now I’m still mourning the loss of a young, talented person,” Garrick said.

“Kadean was just a great, young life that has gone too early. I’m really saddened at her passing, and I want to reach out to parents, relatives, to her friends, the community.”

The police believe that speeding may have contributed to the accident.

“Based on what we gather, the Fielder seems to have been speeding, got out of control and ran into the Benz, then overturned and burst into flames,” superintendent in charge of the St Ann police, Carlos Russell, told The Gleaner.

Intermittent showers have left road conditions along the north coast wet and slippery and may also have been a contributory factor.

Russell is appealing to motorists to take extra precautions along the roads, especially during the rainy period.

Jamaica’s crash fatalities for 2020 are almost on par year-on-year. Up to November 5 this year, there were 359 crash deaths, four fewer than for the corresponding period in 2019.

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