Crash victim was joker’ and sweetheart’
The heartbroken mother of Jokeem Richardson, who died in a traffic collision last week, has described her son as a man bursting with love and creativity who cherished his family.
Kareen Richardson is coming to terms with the loss, saying nothing was more important to him than his parents, siblings and extended family members.
Mr Richardson, 23, was killed in a collision last Wednesday involving his motorcycle, a car and a tow truck on Blue Hole Hill in Hamilton Parish. A 55-year-old woman was arrested and released on police bail pending further inquiries.
Mrs Richardson said “everyone knew Jokeem” and everyone who knew him would describe him as a “real character”. She told The Royal Gazette: “Jokeem was very friendly, he was a feisty one but no one could not like him — he had a likeable spirit. He loved his family — his three brothers, three sisters, me and his father. He loved to be around his family.
“He looked forward to gatherings whether they were at Christmas or just a BBQ. He was very protective over us especially the youngest sister who he would call ‘shark bait’, like in Finding Nemo, because she was so small.
“Everyone knew him. My mom went to an appointment the other day and one of the nurses had heard about what happened and she told her she knew him — she went to school with him. His teachers, anyone who knew him, would say he was a real character.”
Mr Richardson was brought up in Pembroke but the family moved around the island. He had no children of his own but he had a “slew of family” — his parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles who are now all dealing with the devastating news of his loss.
He attended the First Church of God nursery before moving to West Pembroke Primary School. He later attended Dellwood Middle School and then Berkeley Institute.
Mr Richardson was working as a labourer but his interests were far and wide, his family said.
He loved football. He was a player for Young Men’s Social Club and used to play in the under-12s and under-15s.
“He didn’t play recently but he would go up to Bernard Park and kick the ball around in a friendly game on a Sunday. He loved his football.” His team was Liverpool, his mother recalled.
“He also loved the latest fashion and he would tailor his own clothes. He made his little sister a jacket and she loved it. He was so proud of his work. He was very creative. He cut hair, he spray painted bikes, he was a mechanic, he was a musician and sang, he liked gardening and loved to go fishing. He was always doing something.”
His aunt Kim Butterfield remembered him fondly, joking that he was always trying to steal her clothes.
“He loved food, he loved his dog and he loved fashion. He was always trying to steal my clothes and sneakers, saying they don’t fit me anymore, so I would give him a bag of clothes.
“He had the best personality — he was funny, he was the joker. They used to call him Jokeem the Joker. He was a sweetheart; you couldn’t stay mad at him. He made me laugh. He said to me one day “take one day at a time, chill out’.”
Mr Richardson’s death came as the third road fatality of the year — the fourth, 68-year-old American Edmund Prentis, arrived less than 24 hours later — highlighting what has been described as a national health crisis by the Bermuda Government.
The incident is still under investigation by the police but Ms Richardson wanted to send out a message to the community to “pay attention to the roads”.
The last time his mother visited Mr Richardson was on his birthday at the end of April when she took him some new sneakers and an outfit.
“He sent me a WhatsApp message later on of him all geared up, he was really happy,” she remembered. She spoke to him since then and she was in touch him after she had heard of a separate accident on the roads and was worried about him. “He kept messaging me telling me ‘mama, I’m OK, mama, I’m OK’.”
She says she’s finding it hard to believe that just a few days after that, she would be hearing news of her own son’s death.
It was a stark reminder to every road user to drive safely.
Mr Richardson leaves behind his mother Kareen Richardson, his “father” Joseph Richardson, his biological father Dion Berkeley, his sisters Jokiah Richardson, Shalika Saltus and Mayah Williams, and his brothers Michael Williams, Dimeko Berkeley and Jonare Richardson.
Mr Richardson’s funeral will be held at the First Church of God on Thursday at 2pm. All are welcome to attend to help “celebrate his life”.
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