Neville and Iris Haughton took the vows ‘till death do us part’ at marriage more than 40 years ago, but not even death could separate them, as they died together in a cruel twist of fate in a tragic motor vehicle accident along the Paradise main road in Westmoreland on Tuesday which also claimed the life of their 35 year-old grandson Conroy Beckford.
Neville, 80, former chef, landscaper and farmer and Iris, 81, baker and vendor, were passengers in a Honda Stepwagon being driven by Beckford, a popular barber in Montego Bay, also known as ‘African’ and ‘Gorilla’, when the fateful incident occurred, which has left the family without matriarch and patriarch.
Reports indicate that Beckford, who operated from a barber shop along Union Street, had driven his grandparents, his cousin Michael Gordon along with the cousin’s girlfriend and young child, to his grandparents’ farm at Grange Hill in Westmoreland.
On the return trip to Montego Bay Beckford made a stop at his mother’s house at Little London and was on the way back when on reaching a section of the Paradise main road the rear wheel of the vehicle hit the embankment of a newly dug trench and blew out.
Beckford reportedly lost control of the vehicle, which overturned and subsequently crashed into a tree.
All six occupants, who suffered varying injuries, were assisted to the Savanna-la Mar General Hospital by the police and passersby, where Neville and Iris along with Conroy were pronounced dead.
Michael and his two-year-old daughter were treated and released, while his girlfriend has been admitted in serious condition.
Michael, who has not eaten since the tragedy and struggling to maintain his composure shared that:
SHOCK AND DISBELIEF
“Right now, I am weak bad, weak to the bone. I just can’t talk about what happened. All six of us lived in the same house and I lose my grandparents and my cousin … my girlfriend my daughter and myself injured —this is too much. The family cannot be the same, we are in a state of shock and disbelief.
Michael recalled that Neville worked as a chef and landscaper at Sam Sharpe Teachers College while Iris was a baker who sold her products at the Granville Age School.
The Haughton’s, who were community stalwarts having resided there for more than 40 years, were devout Seventh Day Adventists and were members of the Granville Seventh Day Adventists Church.
“The family members are continuing to break down, it very hard. I am trying to regain the strength to go through with this, I have to do an x-ray and visit the hospital –ahhh it rough.”
“My cousin Conroy was jovial and everybody loved him. He was a good man.”
“My grandparents were inseparable, they did everything together, went to church, everywhere, you would not see one without the other”
Barrington Flemming – Staff Reporter