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'Oh, God, why?'

'Mi baby nuh deserve this,' cries mom of Clan Carthy student killed in bizarre accident

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Japhene Campbell wept bitterly as guidance counsellors, police and clergymen encircled her, singing praises unto God.

It was their way of offering comfort to the grieving mother of seven-year-old Benjamin Bair, who was late Monday crushed to death by a garbage truck at his school Clan Carthy Primary.

It was evident that the wave of agony sweeping through Campbell was more than anyone could bear.

And while songs swirled around her, nothing seemed to make sense.

The wailing mother only had questions.

“Oh, God, mi baby nuh deserve this,” the weeping woman, who gave birth to her third child only three months ago, said.

“Mi a grow mi son fi be a man. Mi seh mek mi live fi see him past the worst and God nuh answer mi prayer. Oh, God; oh, God; oh, God, why? Benjamin, come Benji, come back. Benji, Benji, Benji,” she murmured between sobs, rocking back and forth in the arms of a relative.

A clergyman prayed, in the meantime, asking God to allow those affected by the untimely passing of the young boy to, over time, accept his death.

“Father, we ask you to help us to accept life as it unfolds. Help us, God, to always remember that You are there for us to comfort us in times of grief,” the clergyman, who was leading a prayer meeting at the family's Lower Ivy Road home, said.

Benjamin was reportedly among a group of students waiting to be picked up at the school shortly before 5:00 pm when the driverless truck ran back, crashing into a parked taxi before overturning on him in a bizarre accident that shocked the nation.

The young boy reportedly ran in the opposite direction of his schoolmates and was trapped between a perimeter fence and the truck.

Yesterday, the scene was cordoned with ropes and a tarpaulin spread across the area where he was killed.

“Mi cyaan accept it. Bring back mi baby. Him deh a school. Mi see to it that him go school. A school mi send him. Him supposed to be safe at school. Look how mi take care of mi children. Yuh nuh see mi baby? Yuh nuh see him? Oh, God, him [mannerable], him respect people, oh, God. Benji, yuh nuh deserve this. Benji, mi carry yuh go school and yuh nuh come home. Mi cyaan accept this,” Campbell lamented.

Earlier at the school, several guidance counsellors worked feverishly to console Benjamin's aunt Alicia McLean, who collapsed in Principal Sheldon Richards' office.

McLean, who began hyperventilating, was taken to the nearby St Joseph's Hospital after a nurse on the scene confirmed that her blood pressure had skyrocketed.

She, too, was a picture of grief.

“What him do fi deserve this? Him nuh live nuh life yet. What him do God fi deserve this? Mi cyaan believe Almighty God. Yuh couldn't stop the truck? Yuh couldn't stop the truck, God? Ask Him why Him never stop the truck? Why, God? This heavy,” McLean wailed.

Benjamin's grandfather Joseph Campbell described the young boy as his little friend.

“Him was a nice likkle youth. Him not even reach him prime. It hurt mi. Him obedient and trustworthy. If you seh don't go there so, him naah go. On the weekend him always come visit mi. Him and the likkle girl who was with him yesterday. Up to Sunday he was with mi. Mi cook and we eat, and so forth, and him uncle carry him home. From last night mi nuh sleep, enuh. Mi cyaan believe wah happen,” the man told the Jamaica Observer.

Benjamin's uncle, Japheth Campbell, who had on several occasions picked him up from school, said he was stunned when he received news of the boy's death.

The younger Campbell said that each afternoon, until his ride came, Benjamin never left the area where he was killed.

“Mi car get out of control and mi haffi talk to myself and seh 'Hold it, you have a daughter'. A suh come mi nuh crash. Mi always hear news and read 'bout this, but mi cyaan believe this a happen to wi family. Mi cyaan come to the realisation fi know seh mi nephew dead. Mi nephew is so fun and loving. Him good with him hands. Him gooda deh over deh a play with him car or something and nuh realise. Him always in the same spot with him friend. She's the one weh deh hospital. Bwoy, mi nuh know how this tragedy reach mi family,” he stated.

Up to press time yesterday, it was unclear whether or not the driver, who had exited the truck to reportedly collect garbage, had filed a report with the police.

Drivers involved in any form of accident are allowed 24 hours to report the matter.

A parent who had been reportedly leaving her car was also hit by the truck. She suffered a fractured leg.