‘Don’t let my son’s death be in vain’

  • Precious memory: Jokeem Richardson, far right, with his family, from left, brother Michael, mother Kareen, sisters Mayah, Shalika and Jokiah, grandmother Ann Saltus and cousin Yana, on Christmas Day 2015
  • Fondly remembered: Jokeem Richardson

The grief-stricken mother of a man who died in a crash begged drivers yesterday to be more careful on the roads and not let her son’s death be in vain.

Kareen Richardson was speaking after a woman admitted causing the death of her 23-year-old son Jokeem in a crash last year.

Ms Richardson said: “The accident killed any possibility of Jokeem becoming the man he was destined to be — and what hurts more, his death was avoidable.”

She added: “Accidents like this should remind us all that we take for granted the damage that can occur when not paying attention to the road.

“We all have at one time or the other, made poor choices when driving or riding — not thinking it could cost someone their life.”

Mr Richardson died after a collision on Blue Hole Hill in Hamilton Parish on May 10 last year.

Margaret DeSilva, 55, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to causing Mr Richardson’s death by careless driving.

DeSilva, from Smiths, was released on bail for sentencing on January 30.

Ms Richardson said the family were relieved to have been spared the ordeal of a trial.

She added: “Absolutely nothing can bring my son back, so I don’t think going to trial would have made anyone’s life better.

“However, if this story touches anyone in the community to the point that they make a conscious effort to drive or ride more safely, then my son’s death will not have been in vain.”

Ms Richardson said: “I recognise that it was an accident and not an intentional act.

“It’s tragic, and I’m sure Ms DeSilva probably has to endure her own challenges as a result.”

Ms Richardson said the Christmas period was a struggle for her family.

She added: “Every year Jokeem would stop in for Christmas dinner. He always looked forward to his nana’s cassava pie and mom’s macaroni and cheese.

“He would spend time with the family, would joke around, sing and just be silly. He would wear his gifts immediately and be thankful for whatever he received.

“And then when he was ready to leave, he’d take a couple plates of food ‘for the road’.

“We missed him dearly at Christmas time, just as we miss him during everyday life. Losing a family member is hard but losing a child and a sibling so young, is unbearable.”

Ms Richardson said: “My family has certainly struggled to come to terms with Jokeem’s death and we can only take one moment at a time, one day at a time.

“Some days are better than others — we fondly remember Jokeem with a joke and laugh some days and on other days we can’t help but just cry.

“It is a very painful process. An experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

Ms Richardson, however, said her family was not alone in their grief as Mr Richardson was only one of 15 people who lost their lives on Bermuda’s roads last year.

She added: “It goes to show that we simply are not respecting the roads, laws, nor each other.

“It’s my hope that people stop to think of the lives that have been lost due to reckless driving and inattention to the roads and make better choices when driving or riding — not just because it’s the right and safe thing to do, but because tomorrow it could be your son, your family member or even you.”

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