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Justice for Jahem

By CECILY ASSON Wednesday, March 25 2009

click on pic to zoom in

The driver of a Toyota Hilux van reversed twice over Jahem Adams, crushing the two-year-old’s head in front of his four brothers and sisters near their home in Egypt Village, Point Fortin on Monday evening.

Although his grandfather rushed him to the Point Fortin District Hospital, doctors were not able to save Jahem who died while receiving emergency treatment. Jahem’s grandfather Lennox Alfred, fearing a cover-up in the investigation, yesterday called on Acting Commissioner of Police James Philbert to order an independent probe into his grandson’s death.

“I am calling on him because the vehicle involved in the accident is owned by a retired police officer and we know the way these investigations go,” Alfred said, as he pointed to the spot where Jahem was knocked down.

Investigators yesterday confirmed the van belonged to a retired police officer but said the officer was not driving the vehicle when the fatal accident occurred.

Jahem’s parents Devon and Terri Adams yesterday struggled to accept how their son died.

Terri, 29, said the screams of her other four children brought her running from her house at Jattan Trace, Egypt Village. She found her older daughter Jaiel, eight, holding Jahem in her arms.

“I heard the screams and ran outside to see Jaiel holding her brother who was bleeding from the head. I breathed into his mouth to try to save him, but only blood was coming out,” Terri said.

Jahem, Jaiel, Jemaul, 11, Jewel, seven, and Jesstene, three, were walking along the street, which is on a hill, when the driver of the van reversed in their direction, a relative told Newsday.

“The van reversed and while his siblings were able to get out the way, Jahem wasn’t so lucky and was hit from behind and fell on the ground,” said the relative.

His brothers and sisters tried to pull him from under the van but the driver reversed again crushing the little boy’s head.

“His sister, Jaiel, took him up and cried out for help,” said the relative. Another eyewitness said the driver got out of the van and tried to help Jahem.

“But when he observed his van rolling off the road and heading down a hill into someone’s yard, he just dropped the injured child and rushed to stop it,” said the eyewitness. The van came to a stop when it slammed into a mango tree. The vehicle, which has an image of the national Coat-of-Arms and flag on its licence plate, has been impounded at the Point Fortin Police Station. The 21-year-old driver is assisting police with their investigation. Alfred, who lives on the street, quickly rushed Jahem to hospital but efforts to revive him failed and at about 6.03 pm, he was pronounced dead by doctors.

Relatives spent yesterday with Terri and Devon, 32, to comfort the grieving parents, who celebrated the birth of their sixth child, Jade, three months ago.

Jahem’s grandmother, Janice Hinds-Lawrence, 54, said he was a loving boy who always hugged and kissed everyone especially his baby sister. His brothers and sisters are so traumatised they have been sent to stay with relatives.

“They are crying especially his sister who rescued him,” said a relative. Jahem’s autopsy is due to be performed today.

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