Crash victim still struggling to recover a year on

It was almost a year ago to the day when Jaaziah Richardson-Webb’s life was forever changed by the actions of an alleged reckless driver.

Richardson-Webb was the pillion passenger on a motorcycle travelling west along South Shore Road just west of Horseshoe Road, Southampton and being driven by her best friend Troni Robinson-Burgess, around midnight on July 28, 2022.

The pair were struck head on by another bike travelling in the opposite direction and allegedly being driven by a 27-year-old man, who is believed to have been involved in a previous road fatality collision.

All three person’s were injured, with Troni mortally wounded and Richardson-Webb critically hurt and landing in the intensive care unit of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Richardson-Webb incurred a traumatic brain injury, a broken wrist, a two inch scar tat required grafting, fluid in her lumgs, and around her heart, multiple rib fractures and even more harm.
The man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving but as yet has not been charged with any crime, a point of concern for the families of both female victims, have been left without a definitive path toward closure by the slow moving investigation.

During an exclusive interview with TNN’s Trevor Lindsay Richardson-Webb, while yet unable to remember the events of that tragic night, spoke of the heartbreak she has endured in having lost her best friend in such a senseless manner.

“It changed seven days after being in the hospital,” said Richardson-Webb. “I woke up in my bedroom, like, just in shock and I’m like, ‘What happened?’
“I looked around the room I was in and said, ‘This is not my bedroom.’
“I’m like, ‘Where am I?’ I go downstairs where there is a back door to the ocean and I go outside I have my feet on the grass. It was like first time I had felt grass on my feet (since the accident) and then I walked on the rocks.

“My nana was on the porch saying, ‘Put some shoes on, you’re going to cut yourself’, but I said, ‘No, I want to feel this.’

“I put my feet in the water and I started crying because I had my feet in the water and I hadn’t felt something like that in a long time.
“I wanted to go for a swim, but I looked at my wrist and I knew that I couldn’t because I had a cast on. So, I walked back upstairs and I was like, ‘What happened?’
“Going forward it’s been a lot and I really don’t know how to explain it, I’ve never really opened up.”
What had happened was that following a fun-filled day at the beach with Troni Robinson-Burgess, as well as spending some time as ‘local ambassadors’ to a couple of tourists her best friend had been killed by an alleged suspected drunk driver, one who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Richardson-Webb remembers practically nothing from the night, with her memory cut off after the pair had accompanied a group of visitors back to their cruise ship in Dockyard.

“I don’t remember much from the night, but I do remember things about the day of,” said Richardson-Webb. “We were at the beach Troni called me and I went and met her in the parking lot and we came down to the beach.

“Later we left and went in a van with some tourists to Dockyard to drop them off. We were all laughing with the tourists, listening to the music and after that she got dropped home and I got dropped home, from there that it’s all blank.

“I remember nothing at all. I don’t even remember being in ICU.”
It has taken a long while for the now 22-year-old to believe her friend to have died and she yet struggles to accept the fact that Troni no longer physically walks among the living.
Explained Richardson-Webb: “I don’t know when I was told, but I remember waking up, like I would wake up in the middle of the night and scream, ‘What the …’

“I would repeatedly ask what happened and every time I would dream I kept hearing, ‘Troni passed away. You we’re hit by an alleged drunk driver during an accident.’ And I was just like, ‘What?’
“I guess that in the back of my mind I knew, but I wasn’t aware because I had amnesia. So I couldn’t remember any details from the hospital or from the accident.

“I did wake up on August 8th remembering some things and I wrote them on my wall. I wrote the date on the wall and I still have it there.”
Angering her was a video of the scene that was circulated on social media in what many would regard in poor taste and police and family of the victims found reprehensible.
However, the visual did offer Richardson-Webb proof of her friend’s demise and provided the face of the alleged perpetrator upon which to direct her frustration.

“With regard to the video I was angry and I was angry for a long time,” she said. “When I saw the video, I would not say it pissed me off, but it triggered me, because it’s like, ‘How could someone be so heartless as to take a video of someone’s passing?’ And I could have been laying there gone too.

“But then seeing the person who hit us I needed to put a face to it, even though I didn’t want to watch the video.
“I need to put a face to who I could be angry at, because I had no one to blame, I only knew that someone had hit us. I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t know a name. I didn’t have a face.. I didn’t know a skin colour. I had to look and see.
“Seeing it, and having that image kept in my head it was a lot to take and I wish I didn’t see the details, because it was a lot to take in.

“I said to myself that this is really real, it has to be. Because I really couldn’t make it real enough not being able to remember or know about the accident and what happened. And not seeing it happen before my own eyes, not remembering the hospital and and people telling me that Troni passed away.

“Then, obviously, Troni  is not answering my messages. I was there still in the state of shock saying this cannot be real, even though I truly experienced it.
“It was as if I did not see it because I couldn’t remember, which made it difficult for me to believe it really happened. “(But) I watched the video I was like this is real. “Then I was like, ‘How did this happen to me? Why us? Why me? Why am I still alive”

The past year has seen the young woman struggle to regain her physical strength, however she remains an emotional wreck, often waking during the night crying out for her beloved friend.
I  stays far away from bikes, but even when travelling by car she feels every bump in the road, which often serve to take her breath away and cause her to flutter.
“I understand that grief takes time, but I didn’t know the depths until I lost someone so close to me,” she said. “Someone I could always call on no matter what, and now she’s no longer there for me to call on.”

Of major concern to Richardson-Webb and the victim’s family is what appears to be the failure of the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) and Department of Public Prosecutions to prioritise the cases.
Despite many attempts by Richardson-Webb to find out the status of the case she noted how she has been continually stonewalled in her attempts, with the woman believing there to possibly be unknown elements influencing progress.

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