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Wear blue in memory of Kijani

Classmates of a teenager who died in a crash this week asked the public to remember him and other road accident victims by wearing blue on Friday.

Kijani Burgess, 16, was killed on Monday after his scooter hit a taxi and he fell into the path of a fire engine on its way to a call-out incident with its lights and sirens on.

Angel Seaman, the Bermuda Institute Grade 11 class vice-president, said: “We'd like to let the community know to wear blue or write with a blue pen to show their support for Kijani and other local road fatalities.”

She said blue was Mr Burgess's favourite colour and the class hoped people would keep “road safety in mind”.

Ms Seaman, 16, explained: “We are trying to take this situation and move it into good.We are trying to take our pain and put it into purpose.

“There has been a lot that's happened to us in our class.

“A lot of us have gotten into accidents. One of the students' brothers actually died from a road accident that happened in 2019.

“It's a lot that has happened in regards to road fatalities and we wanted to spread more awareness.”

Ms Seaman highlighted the importance of road safety and asked road users not to take lives for granted.

She said: “I don't know if the lesson to be learnt is to take your time and be safe on the road.”

Ms Seaman added: “Take everybody that you know and hug them and love them while you can.”

Hector Quiñones, chaplain to Grade 11 at the Seventh-day Adventist-run school in Southampton, said Mr Burgess was “an excellent leader”.

He said: “He was very positive and he had dreams and aspirations of working in media.

“He's the school photographer and he could not be seen without a camera, and tried to make videos to memorialise everybody.”

Mr Quiñones said the pupils wanted Bermuda residents to “purposefully use blue ... and hopefully bring awareness” to road safety on January 17.

He added: “If, on Friday, there are no road accidents we will be happy.”

Mr Burgess was among a group of people affiliated with the school who went on a mission trip to Panama in 2018.

They teamed up with Maranatha International, a Christian-based organisation set up to encourage volunteers to raise their own funds for travel and lodging in return for participation in service work overseas.

Mr Burgess, then 14, said at the time: “I want to show and tell people about how God has impacted my life by bringing me to a Christian school.

“Since I've been at Bermuda Institute, I've had the opportunity to worship God every day. It's taught me to love God and other people.

“Hopefully the children will sense the change that's happened in me and want to get to know God for themselves.”

His death was the first road fatality of 2020.

The Bermuda Police Service said yesterday that Mr Burgess was riding a 50cc scooter behind a taxi on Somerset Road in Sandys.

It was understood the taxi driver, a 68-year-old Smith's man, slowed down and pulled to the side of the road to give way to a fire truck heading to an emergency call in the opposite direction.

The fire truck was en route to a reported collision when the fatal crash happened at about 4.15pm on Monday.

A police spokesman said: “Kijani and his scooter struck the rear of the taxi and fell into the path of the fire truck near Lantana Road, in the vicinity of Scaur Hill.

“The 16-year-old Sandys parish resident was seriously injured and despite life-saving efforts at the scene by EMTs — which continued as he was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance — sadly, Kijani was later pronounced dead.”

The spokesman added: “All three vehicles involved were damaged, but there were no injuries reported by the taxi driver or the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Services personnel travelling in the fire truck.”

The BFRS yesterday directed inquiries to the Government's communications department.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said: “The circumstances of the incident are under active investigation by the Bermuda Police Service. It would be insensitive to comment any further.

“The Ministry of National Security was extremely sad to have been advised yesterday of the road traffic accident which tragically resulted in the loss of life of a young man.

“Our hearts go out to the victim's family and loved ones, and we extend our sincerest condolences during this very difficult time.”

Police inquiries continued yesterday and witnesses who have not yet come forward should contact Constable Dennis Joell at the roads policing unit on 247-1788, 717-2221 or by e-mail to djoell@bps.bm.

Tragic loss: Kijani Burgess (Photograph from social media).

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Published January 15, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated January 15, 2020 at 7:59 am)

Wear blue in memory of Kijani

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