Bermuda’s latest hit-and-run fatality that claimed the life of a 23-year-old young man on Friday, prompted a painful reminder for another family, who lost their loved one.
To this day, the family of the late Jen-Naya Simmons have yet to reach closure on who left her dead on Bermuda’s roads two years ago.
Nearly two weeks after that fatal hit-and-run accident, her family held a joint news conference with the police, to make an impassion plea for information that would lead to an arrest.
Ultimately, their desperate plea fell on deaf ears. To date, the driver in that fatal road crash has yet to be found, charged or brought before the courts.
The Bermuda Police Service held a news conference on Thursday, March 7, in 2019 at the scene of the accident, where Jen-Naya Simmons was left for dead on the side of the road, following a hit and run accident on July 15 in 2018.
She was only 17 at the time of her tragic death on North Shore Road in Hamilton Parish.
The fatal hit and run crash occurred around 3:30am when an oncoming car struck the victim’s motorcycle and left her there at the scene to die.
The car was identified by police and the man who owns it remains a person of interest in this case and he is not alone.
He was arrested shortly after the accident but never charged.
The police know there was more than one person in that vehicle on that fateful night. And they are the ones the appeal went out to.
Police were also aware of reports circulating after the accident that the man’s girlfriend was reportedly driving the vehicle on the night in question when the fatal accident occurred.
But as stated in our report published in March 2019, hearsay is not a defense, nor is it admissible in a court of law. It’s not what you hear, or think you know – you need PROOF – proof that places the driver; whoever it was, behind the wheel at the time of the crash on the night in question.
As noted by Bermuda Real: “The only thing proven so far, is that somewhere on this tiny little island we call home, every single day since the victim’s family got that dreaded phone call in the middle of the night – is that there are people, more than one, at least two, or maybe more, who know what happened.
The question then, remains the same now is what do they plan to do about it?
Sadly the answer in this case is: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, which begs the question – do they even have a conscience?
Clearly they have withheld information that would lead a grieving family to justice. If the victim was their child who was left in the street to die – would you FEEL the same way? Do they even CARE?
As a people, what kind of people are we really because this is not the first time something like this has happened. And on Friday, June 25, IT HAPPENED AGAIN!
To make matters worse, the victim this time is his mother’s ONLY CHILD!
When the family of Ms Simmons appealed to Bermuda’s public to assist to help give them closure, her father, Kingsley Burchall, pleaded for anyone who knows anything to do with the death of his daughter to come forward.
“This has ruined my entire life,” he said.
Sergeant Dorian Astwood of the Roads Policing Unit said then, that the initial stages of the investigation indicated that it was a single vehicle accident.
But he said: “As the investigation continued, critical information began to emerge and it was confirmed that another vehicle was involved.”
The car in question was a silver grey Suzuki APV car. The owner was arrested in 2019 and was subsequently released on police bail.
Sgt Astwood stressed at the time that “this investigation is not finished” yet.
“There were other occupants in the vehicle,” he said. “These individuals, for whatever reason, have not done the honourable thing and come forward.”
“There are many people walking around with guilty consciences and heavy loads on their hearts…
“The manner in which Jen-Naya’s life was taken from her was callous.”
He also stated that he could not imagine “how one could sleep at night and carry on with their daily activities without experiencing the fear of reprimand” and urged anyone in this community who know anything to speak up.
“You are aware of what occurred and anyone having this information with a conscience would report what they know to us,..failing to do so is a crime and punishable under the law.
“This is a serious matter as a young lady who had a bright future ahead of her was taken away from her family and friends so tragically. Help us bring justice and closure to the family,” he added.
Sgt Astwood noted that the veil of silence on this case “is very disrespectful to the memory of the deceased”, especially for her family, loved ones and friends.
More than THREE YEARS LATER, that “VEIL OF SILENCE” CONTINUES to elude justice and closure for this young woman’s grieving family, a family left with no real answers and no closure!
Sadly, there’s another family grieving – left in the same position with more questions than answers.
And as a community, apparently around and round we go AND here we go AGAIN – which is BEYOND SAD!
It’s beyond PAINFUL! And frankly, to be absolutely CLEAR – May The Drivers involved ROT IN HELL!
On behalf of Bermuda Real we extend our heartfelt sincerest condolences…RIP.