Birthday girl, biker die in mysterious crash

December 06, 2021
Romario Smikle (left) friend of Derrick Coley and Brianna Kerr who died along Mountain View Avenue in Kingston on Friday, sits with Violet Reid (centre) mother of Coley, and wife Antoinette McGregor.
Romario Smikle (left) friend of Derrick Coley and Brianna Kerr who died along Mountain View Avenue in Kingston on Friday, sits with Violet Reid (centre) mother of Coley, and wife Antoinette McGregor.
Derrick Coley
Derrick Coley
Briana Kerr
Briana Kerr

A woman who had just celebrated her 24th birthday died after leaving a party early Friday morning. Birthday girl Brianna Kerr was travelling on a motorcycle being driven by Derrick Coley, 40, which crashed along Mountain View Avenue in Kingston. Both victims, who spent the night partying at a hotel in New Kingston, were rushed to the Kingston Public Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The cause of their deaths is shrouded in controversy. According to the police's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), in a media release issued on Saturday, Kerr was shot and killed by unknown assailants on Friday, December 3, around 10:40 p.m. The report further stated that the police were summoned by residents after hearing loud explosions. There was no record of Coley in the police's first report. However, in the follow-up report, the police stated that they were summoned by residents after the bodies of both deceased were discovered along the roadway.

For the grieving families, their loved ones died as a result of the actions of the police. They believe that the contrasting police reports from the CCU add to the proof that something sinister happened during a break-neck chase by a police patrol unit which pursued them from Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston.

According to both Brittany Powell and Romario Smikle, the two slammed into a bridge after being allegedly hit from their motorcycle by a marked police vehicle sometime after 1 a.m that morning. Smikle, who was one of six people travelling from the party -- long after the nightly 10 p.m curfew had started -- recalled the moments leading up to the fatal accident.

"Mi a watch di police and the bike so a go down Excelsior and a go round Mountain View road but as dem go round di bend dem come out a me eyesight. On my way coming down now mi see people a run out of the lane a run. When mi reach the bend now mi pass dem at the corner and dem a say 'Yow, di car gone up deh so weh bounce dem, enuh'. When mi lift up mi head di car turn and a come back wid a pace, fly pass wi and go back up Mountain View road," Smikle said.

The distraught Smikle said that having reached the crash scene he enquired about the driver and was told that he and the pillion rider were badly injured.

"Dem tell mi seh dem deh pon di bridge, same time mi see Squechie first. Dem start tell mi say di girl look like she more alive than him. When reach and see dem same time mi start bawl. Wi start try fi get a vehicle but nobody never wah stop," Smikle said.

Contacted for a comment yesterday, commanding officer for the East Kingston Police Division, Senior Superintendent Tomilee Chambers, said that she was not aware of any reports of gunshot.

"I am not aware of that report. All I know is that my sergeant is investigating a fatal accident that took place along Mountain View Avenue Friday night," she said.

Meanwhile, the family of the deceased said they not only want answers but also justice. Kerr's sister, Powell, said that the news of her death has brought her emotions back to the pain she felt when their mother, Michelle Hewitt, had died last year.

"She wanted to enjoy her birthday because it has been difficult for the two of us since our mother died last year. It's the same way how I got the phone call when our mother dropped down, I got a call that say 'gwan to KPH'," she said.

The elder sister has been able to reconcile the information given by eyewitnesses and the police report on the matter.

"The fact that they drove dem down from New Kingston to Mountain View... why? What was the purpose of that? If you are trying to apprehend somebody there are so many police that was probably on the road. Yuh nuh send another patrol or call for backup? Yuh just ride dem down and hit dem off their bike like there are nobody, like absolute trash? They had family and friends," she said.

Coley's wife of five years, Antoinette McGregor, and his mother, Violet Reid, said they have not heard from the police since the incident took place and vowed to not rest until they get justice. McGregor said that she doesn't know how she will move on as Coley was the breadwinner for his four children.

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