Families in mourning

They shared strong bonds, partied together, all loved life and as fate would have it, they died together.

Barbadians woke up to the shocking news this morning that a birthday celebration ended tragically for four young women from St Philip who lost their lives on their way home from a night out.

Shameka Shepherd, 23, Shakira Shepherd 22, Waveney Johnson, 25 and Carey Brathwaite, 18, died this morning when the silver grey Suzuki motor car they were travelling in crashed into a guard wall on Two Mile Hill, St Michael.

From left, Shakira, Shameka and Nakisha Shepherd.
From left, Shakira, Shameka and Nakisha Shepherd.
Waveney Johnson
Waveney Johnson

Nakisha Shepherd, 23, who was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance is fighting for her life.

Barbados TODAY understands that the girls were making their way home following an evening of fun to celebrate Shameka’s birthday, which was on Saturday.

shameka Shepherd

The gut wrenching cries of the mothers and family members who gathered at the scene could be heard in the distance as they got a glimpse of the lifeless bodies, the mashed car and streaks of blood on the road. Some of them called out their loved ones’ names, one mother even asked her daughter to wake up.

This is how they met their death.
This is how they met their death.

A sombre mood hung over communities in St Philip, especially those where the girls were from.

It was a double blow for a Long Bay family who lost two relatives in the accident. Shameka, a nursing student and Shakira, an employee at the Grantley Adams Airport, were cousins who lived in the same house with their mothers, two sisters.

Nakisha, who graduated from the University of the West Indies last week, lived just a stone’s throw away with her mother, their aunt in the close-knit community.

The deceased girls’ mothers were too distraught to explain their emotions.

They were locked away in the house as they grieved together for their daughters.

Other family members were gathered outside, some of them still teary eyed.

However, opting to give a comment on the family’s behalf was aunt Roslin Bradshaw who said she spoke to her nieces yesterday.

She said a prayer group had visited the home and prayed for the mothers who had also been counselled.

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Roslin Bradshaw (right) and Sherry-Ann Bradshaw (left) spoke on behalf of the families.

“They [the girls’ mothers] are taking it very hard. I was in the shower when I got the call getting myself prepared for church. I don’t know if I dried my skin or what, I don’t know what I did,” the eldest of the sisters said in a composed tone.

Their cousin Sherry-Ann Bradshaw said they all attended Deighton Griffith Secondary and have remained close from childhood.

She said her cousins were fun loving, always smiling and got along well, causing most people to think they were sisters.

“They live in the same household and most people would think they are sisters rather than cousins. They were always together. It is s a pretty close-knit family. There are a whole lot of sisters and they are all very close,” Sherry-Ann said.

Preparing to make her way back to the hospital to stand by her daughter’s side was Nakisha’s mother who also was too distraught to speak.

The Shepherd family lost a family member last October in a road accident overseas.

Meanwhile, there was much comforting going on at Minister of Transport Michael Lashley’s mother house.

Waveney's mom was too distraught to speak to the media. Here she is comforted by a family friend.
Waveney’s mom was too distraught to speak to the media. Here she is comforted by a family friend.

Waveney’s mother Carmalie Johnson is a close friend of Lashley’s family and they were together just last night at an event.

Resting on a friend’s chest, a grieving Johnson was too weak to speak about the death of her only daughter, a former student of the Seventh Day Adventist school and employee of Do It Best, Sheraton Mall.

Lana Butcher
Lana Butcher

Friend Lana Butcher, who spoke on Johnson’s behalf, said the mother had an admirable relationship with her respectful daughter who was working towards resuming studies at UWI from next September.

“As you can see, her mother is not taking it well. This is not easy for any of us. But we are here for her and will stay by her side. Waveney was a nice girl, she loved life and having fun,” Butcher said.

Lashley, who also expressed sadness and shock at the scene, said he was familiar with the girls who had previously participated in the St Philip Carnival.

As a mark of respect, Lashley who expressed condolences to the families, has cancelled his annual karaoke event, which was scheduled for later today.

“It is a very horrific accident and it touched me from the point of view that one of the parents is extremely close to my family.

“She is my sister’s best friend and she is always there for my family. She is a very caring and responsible parent,” Lashley noted.

The Minister also warned Barbadians to desist from taking pictures at accident scenes and sending them out on social media.

One resident of  Two Mile Hill who was awakened by the loud hit and crashing sounds that followed said she believed she was watching a movie during the hours following the accident.

“I would never forget looking down and seeing heads bobbing in the back of car,” she said.

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The resident told Barbados TODAY that after hearing a crashing noise she rushed to her window and through the darkness she could see that one of the girls was laying on the ground. She said at that point she had not known that more people were in the vehicle.

She said she rushed to turn on her outside lights so that any vehicles coming down would see the body there and then turned her attention to calling for emergency response teams.

“When I came out some people were there and they asked me to bring two sheets. Then when I looked, I saw that there were more people in the vehicle, so apparently that young lady was ejected from the vehicle.

“People just started gathering. Family members were crying, one woman was so loud that she could have woken up the whole of Barbados,” she said.

The resident, who expressed concern that too many accidents had happened in that area, called on authorities to put up a sign for traffic approaching the area, warning motorists to be cautious.

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16 Responses to Families in mourning

  1. Steve C. October 25, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Words are never adequate in moments of this nature.
    My condolence to the families of these young ladies .I cannot imagine the pain that is being felt by the parents and friends of the deceased.
    Remember through it all “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit”(psalm34.18)
    May the love of family and friends comfort you in the days ahead.

    Reply
  2. jrsmith October 26, 2015 at 5:49 am

    I am in the UK, my family I, cried , we shed tears, I trembled, this madness made me felt so close to our bajan families, as if they were my own. What’s to say other than , to offer our condolences to our bajans families.

    Now comes the mad, vex, part of all of this , bajans we cannot allow this continuous , suffering hurt and pain which never goes away. to families.

    WE HAVE VOTED POLITICIANS IN POWER TO MANAGE (BARBADOS LTD) WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF A DO NOTHING ,GOVERNMENT TO FIX ANYTHING,TO HELP OUR PEOPLE, DEAR MR PRIMINISTER, DO US ALL A FAVIOUR , CALL A SNAP ELECTION AND GO, WE MIGHT FIND SOME OTHERS WHO CARE ,ABOUT OUR PEOPLE AND COUNTRY.

    Reply
  3. Bostonian October 26, 2015 at 7:28 am

    My prayers goes out to the family this is sad condolences goes out to the families it hurts I have a daughter I’ll be devastated keep the faith families and god bless

    Reply
  4. Kevin October 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Why am I reading comments politicising the tragic deaths of these young ladies through an accident? Anyways, this is very very sad. Four young ladies gone one time, please motorist be more careful on the roads.

    Reply
  5. Menace II Babylon October 26, 2015 at 10:50 am

    @jrsmith why don’t you get lost. You attempting to put politicise this tragic incident. This is not the time or place smh

    Reply
  6. jrsmith October 26, 2015 at 11:53 am

    @,Menace, there was so many, fatal vehicle accidents in the past years ,and it goes on , the same things are always said by persons like you, some of us who really care ,need this to stop all I am saying is what bajans are aware of, I don’t have to please you, I have lost family in a vehicle accident in Canada, this is a madness nothing seems to be done about,no concern is shown. For our people.

    Reply
  7. l October 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    MY CONDOLENCES TO ALL THE FAMILIES CONNECTED TO THIS TRAGEDY. IT IS PAINFUL TO SEE OUR YOUTH GOING THIS WAY.

    Reply
  8. N Day October 26, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    @jrsmith, I cannot understand how on earth politics, politicians and government responsible for people getting into accidents?????? You like you spend too much time in the UK and crazy like the ones who come back here mad! for goodness sake, get a grip….you are so misguided and unfeeling. This isn’t the time or place for your crazy rants!

    Reply
  9. Kathy King October 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I live in Canada……but I remember walking along Two Mile Hill everyday to go to school.This has hit close to my heart,tears are flowing.I feel for the families of these wonderful young women.May GOD grant each and every one of you peace and comfort at this time.Amen in Jesus Name!

    Reply
  10. bajanguyster October 26, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    hi seagul i dont think that the words you have wrote here fit what happen here ok this is lifes that have been taken so just try to comfort those loves one and families .blessed

    Reply
  11. Rose Ann October 26, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    If you drink don’t drive. Slow down and maybe you will get there safely.

    Hope others learn from this accident.

    Reply
  12. lilt October 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    @Jr Smith Politics has nothing to do with it, you cant control ACCIDENts, thats y it is called such, politicians can do more with signs and road safety bulletins and such, however it is an accident, these things can happen, politicians can not stop every signle person turning a key, its just plain common knowledge, I agree more can be done, But as I said you will never be able to control every single accident or death, politicians are not GOD.

    Reply
  13. BOBO THE SAME CLOWN October 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    HAS ANYONE SAID WHY THIS ACCIDENT OCCURED OR .WHO IS AT FAULT? ACCIDENTS ARE JUST THAT ACCIDENTS AND NO ONE WANT AN ACCIDENT ESPECIALLY ONE OF THIS MAGNITUDE TO OCCUR TO A FRIEND OR A FOE.
    MAY THE GOOD LORD BE WITH ALL OF THE FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF THE DECEASED AND COMFORT THEM LIKE ONLY HE CAN.

    Reply
  14. victor jones October 26, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    My deepest sympathies goes to the families and friends of these young ladies in what would have been one of the single most tragic road accident in our history to date, let us pray that they lives would be a total lost but be a catalyst to the youth the been behind the wheel of a vehicle don’t make you invincible, but responsible so safe should always be your focus, partying and driving is need a good mix, I would say no more at this time. Gone to soon.

    Reply
  15. Wally October 26, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Come on guys! This has nothing to do with any politician from any side. It was a vehicle accident, AN ACCIDENT! If you don’t know what to say, say nothing! Condolences to All of the Families, may God comfort them at this time.

    Reply
  16. barbajan October 27, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    why no one is talking about this may be because of speeding, bad driving, alcohol consumption or the driver may have fallen asleep. Keep politics out of it, air your political views elsewhere. Let the people grieve and let the investigation continue.

    Reply

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