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'He did the best jerked chicken and pork'

Canada-based friends of man in Riversdale bridge plunge saddened by death

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014    

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CANADA-BASED friends and colleagues of Luke Brown, who died last Thursday when the vehicle he was driving in plunged more than 70 feet from historic Natural Bridge into a river in Riversdale, St Catherine, have expressed shock at his death.

The group reached out to the Jamaica Observer following its front-page story last Friday on the horrific incident. Brown died a day after he celebrated his 60th birthday. He had only arrived from Canada days earlier to visit friends in his neighbouring hometown of Troja.

"When I heard about the incident, I was really shocked," said June Satchell Logan, who worked alongside Brown at a restaurant in Toronto.

She remembered him as a hard worker who had excellent cooking skills, was extremely pleasant and had a positive outlook on life.

"He was a person with an amazing personality. He was also an excellent chef who did the best jerked chicken and pork," Satchell Logan told the Jamaica Observer in an e-mail.

The Observer also received several e-mails from personnel at Good Shepherd Ministries with which Brown was affiliated.

One of the writers, Wondy Ghessesse, disclosed that a memorial is being planned for Brown in Toronto.

"We heard about the tragic accident about Luke. He was a great co-worker. We have a memorial gathering here in Toronto at his workplace," said Ghessesse.

Brown had stopped to purchase breakfast at a cook shop in the vicinity of the bridge when the incident occurred. Eyewitnesses said he attempted to park his Suzuki Vitara on a slope near the bridge when the vehicle began skidding uncontrollably backwards down the rocky slope before plunging dozens of feet in the river below.

Brown's lifeless body, which was battered and bruised and had several broken bones, was pulled from the vehicle more than two hours after the tedious rescue efforts began by firefighters and residents.

The incident has caused pain for Brown's relatives in Jamaica. Also deeply hurt are those who were in the vicinity of the bridge, but could do nothing to save his life.

"I mean, we had to stand up and watch the vehicle going down. We couldn't do anything. Nothing at all," Janeth Dunn, owner of the cook shop where Brown had stopped, told the Observer last week.

Meanwhile, many Jamaica Observer online readers expressed sympathy at the tragic loss.

"I am so so sad to read about this. However... he probably reversed far enough for the gravity from the precipice to drag the car in. These type of natural precipice are very powerful. It is very sad," commented an online reader who goes by the moniker 'Debz'.

"This is just supremely tragic...," remarked 'Woodpecker'.

Meanwhile, 'Jahmack' wrote: "Luke, you will be missed by all of us. I can imagine what gloom your death has brought to your family, friends in Canada and the community of Troja and its surrounding areas. My sincere condolences are sent. May your soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon you. Gone too soon."

Other online readers suggested the posting of warning signs for people not familiar with the area, and the erection of rails on the bridge.

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