Dying crash victim's thoughts turned to mom
BATISTE... died in a crash that tookplace a week before his 32nd birthday

PORT MARIA, St Mary — Hours before he died, Artego Batiste's thoughts turned to his mother. He didn't want her to see the injuries he had sustained during the two-vehicle crash that occurred exactly one week before his 32nd birthday.

“Him tell mi seh him nuh want him mother si him in that way because she couldn't manage seeing him like that,” said Christopher Taylor, his long-time friend and business partner.

He told the Jamaica Observer that Batiste made mention of his mother during a “good conversation” they had as he sat beside his bed at Port Maria Hospital in St Mary shortly after the smash-up.

Taylor said Batiste didn't explicitly express any thought about dying; but he gave instruction for his parents to each get a vehicle from the car rental business he co-owned.

Hannakay Hyatt, a maternal aunt of the deceased, stated that Batiste “loved his mother and father very much”. She added: “If humble was a person, it would have been him.”

She said her sister, Claudine Evans, suffered a minor stroke and had to be taken to hospital after hearing about her son's demise.

She is now out of the medical facility, but is said to be on medication.

For Batiste's relatives and friends, the unexpectedness of his passing has made the loss that much harder to bear.

Taylor recalled that he and his business partner were in the streets virtually all day November 26, not knowing they were spending their last moments together.

Batiste eventually went to his home in Buckfield, Ocho Rios. While he was there, a client returned a rented vehicle and requested that Batiste drop him in Ocho Rios town centre.

When Batiste did that, he reportedly saw some of his friends stranded, and so he opted to take them in his vehicle from Ocho Rios to their destination in neighbouring St Mary.

“He is the type of person who wouldn't leave dem a road,” Taylor said.

Tragedy struck about 9:00 pm on the Wilderness Main Road in Oracabessa, St Mary, according to a press release from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

It reported that a 33-year-old driver, Phillip Walker, was “overtaking another vehicle” when his car collided into the Toyota Axio that was being driven by Batiste.

The collision killed Walker and his 17-year-old passenger, Andrew Phillips, both from St Mary.

It also killed Batiste and one of two passengers travelling with him, the JCF added. The passenger who died in Batiste's car is Marsha Simpson, who was a community health aide at Steer Town Health Centre in St Ann.

When Taylor heard that Batiste was involved in the crash, he visited him at Port Maria Hospital and stayed with him until about 3 o'clock the following morning.

He recalled helping to put Batiste into an ambulance in which he was being transferred to Annotto Bay Hospital — also in St Mary.

Taylor was devastated when, a few hours later, he got news that his friend had died.

Still trying to come to terms with the loss, Taylor told the Observer that he and Batiste were close friends since they were enrolled at Ocho Rios High School.

Both of them also previously worked in the hotel industry.

The late Batiste did stints as a bartender at RIU and Sandals Resorts in Ocho Rios until he joined the staff at Carnival Cruise Line.

About a year ago, he reportedly fell ill while working for Carnival and had to make an emergency trip home for treatment. Instead of returning to the ship, Batiste joined Taylor in the motor vehicle rental business.

Although Batiste had no children, he was a breadwinner for his family, Taylor said.

“He has a little brother in high school and that brother was his pride and joy. He (Batiste) was humblest person you could ever find; he didn't give any problem at all,” Taylor added.

BATISTE... died in a crash that took place a week before his 32nd birthday
BY HORACE MILLS Observer writer

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