Accident victim mourns loss of dear friend
Nineteen-year-old Sherrita Blackman-Oliver can barely recall getting into her workmate’s car last Friday night, much less the tragic accident that occurred mere minutes later, leaving her hospitalized in serious condition and claiming the life of one of her closest friends, 16-year-old Karim Busby.
The two gas attendants, both of whom are former students of the Coleridge and Parry School [CP] in Ashton Hall, St Peter, had just left work at the Esso gas station in Black Rock, St Michael, just after midnight, and were headed home when the unthinkable happened.
Karim, who resided at Maynards, St Peter and recently graduated from secondary school, was the driver of a grey Nissan March, which struck a guard wall at Prospect, St James, immediately claiming his life.
His passenger, who lives at Holder’s Hill, St James, would live to tell the tale. Only problem is, Sherrita, who was first admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and was later transferred to Ward A3, hardly recalls anything about that ill-fated morning.
As she spoke to Barbados TODAY from her hospital bed yesterday, it was obvious that Sherrita wished she could say more about her close brush with death.
However, gazing through her bedside window with her mind seemingly racing in search of answers, it all remained a complete blur.
“I can’t remember how the accident occurred. I can’t even remember actually getting into the car. All of that is blank,” the soft-spoken Sherrita said.
“Only thing I can remember is asking him [Karim] for a ride home,” she added.
However, it is hard to escape the pain of the July 11 accident. Though grateful to God for sparing her life, Sherrita, who is the mother of a two-year-old girl, Dashanni, is still reeling from the pain of losing one of her nearest and dearest friends, as well as the physical aches and scars, including a right eye that is still black and blue following the accident.
The 19-year-old mother, whose legs were covered in a white sheet as she sat up in bed for the interview, showed no other visible signs of injury following the early morning accident. However, she revealed that she was still experiencing pain in her left foot and was finding it hard to walk.
“I have to get someone to hold me to do so. [I’m also] having problems breathing, problems seeing out of my right eye, I have to get drops every hour for my eye. [I have] problems swallowing and eating certain foods, but I am much better than I was few days ago,” she said.
The death of Karim has also left a personal void in her life.
Though they attended the same secondary school, it was only when Karim came to work at Esso that their friendship really blossomed.
“One of our best memories was [of] me, him and another girl named Shelita, who also went CP. We used to hang out a lot, and talk about our time at school.
In fact,“that same day [of the tragedy was] the last time we all hung out at work. We were joking about all the fun we had at school,” the 19-year-old recalled.
Sherrita, who was due to be discharged from the QEH today, is currently in the process of writing a special poem, which she plans to read at Karim’s funeral.
As she recovers from her injuries, she also said she was grateful for the support she has received from his parents since the tragedy.
“I spoke to his parents today. They are not doing well, but they are trying. They are still looking out for me. They came to visit me, so I tried to be strong for them,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Her mother Liana also expressed her personal gratitude to Karim’s parents, who, she said, had been constantly calling to check up on her daughter, even as they try to come to terms with the loss of a son.
“. . . they are very strong people because I don’t think I would have held up if I was in their position,” Sherrita’s mother said.
“I thank them for the support they have given me knowing that Sherrita has been in the hospital. They came to see [us] today. They have been calling me everyday since the accident has happened to find out how Sherrita is [doing].
“I know it can’t be easy for them. I think it is them that need the most support at this time,” she added.
However, she took issue with an article published in another section of the Press, which had suggested that she was unhappy about the length of time the police took to contact her following her daughter’s accident.
While stating that her comments were “taken way out of context and exaggerated by that newspaper”, Liana made it clear that her primary focus right now was “Sherrita and her well being”.
“I would like to say I am grateful to the hospital and all the staff for the care they have given to Sherrita. I’m glad to see how fast she has come out of ICU. . . . She is moving along swiftly. I’m thankful that God spared her life.
“A lot of people in Barbados and my family in Barbados have been praying for her. She’s a very loved child,” the mother said.