Families describe anguish over social media posts showing injured, deceased loved ones

Senior staff reporter

Monday, February 03, 2020

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Widely circulated images of the deadly airport crash, which claimed the lives of four men, including two brothers, have left at least two families torn, even as they struggle to come to terms with the tragedy.

“It was terrible. There was blood everywhere. My family was ripped about it,” Alophia Russell recalled about the images and videos she saw when she spoke to the Jamaica Observer North & East last Wednesday outside her family home in Port Antonio, Portland.

Russell is the sister of 32-year-old Omroy and 35-year-old Omar who, along with Dayton McLeary, 24; and Everton James, 22; died from multiple injuries they received when the car in which they were travelling slammed into the side of a bus on the north coast highway in Hague, Trelawny on January 20.

The woman they were reportedly transporting to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, to board a return flight home to Canada, received serious injuries and at that time was battling for life in Falmouth Public General Hospital, where she was admitted following the mid-morning crash.

Her status at this time is unknown.

“I saw from the video that they took out one of my brothers from the vehicle and put him on the ground and I saw him move but my other brother, which is Omroy, I saw his head on the airbag and he wasn't moving. The videos, the photos just tear the whole family up especially me because persons on my WhatsApp status just keep on posting them. It was just post after post and it's not like they were blocking me before posting,” a distraught Russell said, her eyes filled with unshed tears.

“I saw everything; every single thing. Going through them status and seeing the videos just pop up hurt me. Nobody stop to think that this is not how anyone want to remember them family? Persons are not aware of how them leave families feeling when them do this. It rip we up. It really tear the family apart. We really, really devastated about the whole thing. We're not taking it easy,” the woman continued.

Describing her brothers as “perfect”, she shared that only an hour before the incident, she had spoken to Omroy. She explained that the men were behind schedule in terms of getting to the airport, which might have accounted for the speed at which they were travelling.

According to the police, about 10:15 am a Nissan March motor car with five occupants was heading towards Montego Bay when the driver, shortly after crossing the traffic signals at the intersection of Hayes main road with the road to Florence Hall, was in the process of overtaking a line of traffic and slammed into the path of the bus with two occupants.

The bus, which was travelling in the opposite direction, was sent tumbling into a ditch at the side of the road from the impact of the crash.

Members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade had to cut the occupants from the mangled motor car.

James' aunt, Marie Afflick Charlton, told Observer North & East that she got the news about the tragedy immediately after leaving church.

The woman, while seated on her veranda in Fair Prospect, east Portland, recalled that she began shaking in disbelief when a pump attendant at a gas station broke the news to her.

After several checks, her worst fear was confirmed.

“By the time she told me that and I went into the taxi I looked on my phone and there were the videos in my school group, because I am a teacher. I looked at four different pictures of the car under the bus and it was such a shock,” Afflick Charlton recounted.

“...Just recently I saw a video and that video is the one that tore you up. The accident had just happened and persons were trying to get them out of the car. They were trying to get out the lady and I hear screaming and the other part of the car was under the bus and when they opened the door one was dead and it was just devastating. I was saying why are they sending up all these things on social media knowing the family members going to see it. It was shocking,” she stated.

At the same time, Angela Russell, mother of Omar and Omroy, said the family has been agonising over the loss of the two.

She shared that the days following the incident have been “devastating” and that the family remains in a perpetual state of shock.

“[We're] not taking it easy at all because it's the only two sons; the only two brothers. So we're not taking it well at all. I saw them just before they leave and they said them soon come because they were accompanying a girl to the airport. So I was looking forward for them to come back when I hear the shocking news,” she lamented.

Omar fathered three children.

The men's father Fitzroy, who is visually impaired, bemoaned the loss of his two “soldiers”.

Omar and Omroy were two of five children the couple shared.

“To how we grow them, coming from a mighty long way we grow them good. A mi soldier them —one pon mi right and one pon mi left — and fi see how the two of them pass off mi a tell yuh the feelings nuh easy sometimes. At times when mi close mi eyes it coming like a them mi see, so the feelings go and come. So mi affi just forget about it sometimes. It hard; it don't easy,” he expressed.

He was making his way home after preaching at a church in the community when news reached him that his sons had perished in the crash.

“It coming like an explosion when mi hear. A just God himself was on my side because a could've a blood cell or blood pressure; mi could've just disappeared right there. But, as mi said, a just God we serve. A him make mi deh here right now why mi nuh gone too. Mi can say to God be the glory great things he has done,” the elderly man said.

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