For most people, Christmas is a time of happiness and celebration. But, for one St. John family, it’s also a time of mourning and reflection.
December 22 will mark the two year anniversary of the death of seven-year-old Javon Jade “JJ” Alfred, who was struck and killed by a delivery truck on his way home from a school Christmas party.
The boy was in the crosswalk at the intersection of South Shore Road and Pond Road, when he was struck by the delivery truck, which was traveling on South Shore Road away from town, and was attempting to make a right-hand turn onto Pond Road.
Visit Grave, Say a Prayer
“Christmas is a time that you take a minute and remember your friends who passed, and the less fortunate,” said Javon’s mother, Deverell Alfred.
Alfred, who has “eight children in spirit and seven in life,” said she marks the anniversary of her son’s death by visiting his grave along with some of the boy’s friends.
“I go to his grave on the anniversary,” said Alfred. “Me and his friends go, and we say a prayer. They want to go, and it’s nice to have them for support.”
The Alfred family is still feeling the effects of losing one of their own.
“My other kids have a lot of anger in them from this whole thing,” said Alfred.
Javon’s death has been particularly hard to deal with for Alfred’s son, Davon Alfred, who was a year and eight months younger than JJ.
Put Energy Toward Education
“From the time Davon turned seven, he’s had an angry spirit in him,” said Alfred. “He and Javon used to bathe together and play together.”
Alfred, who disagrees with the government’s decision not to prosecute the driver of the truck that killed Javon, is trying to inspire her children to focus their energy on getting an education.
“All of my kids are on honor roll, and I tell them to go to school, get a decent education and make a change in the islands,” said Alfred. “I tell them to make a positive change. They are the next generation.”
Alfred urges everyone to set time aside to spend with their kids.
“Christmas is a time for family,” she said. “I would like people to remember Javon in this way — take time out for your kids. Always remember that any time can be the last time.”
Time for Forgiveness
Alfred also learned the importance of forgiveness when her son passed away, she explained.
“You get mad because you are human,” said Alfred. “Take the time out for forgiveness, because something can happen in the blink of an eye.”
Charges were never filed against St. Thomas resident Sinclair St. Luce who drove the delivery truck that struck and killed Javon Alfred. St. Tho-mas/St. John Traffic Bureau Traffic Accident Investigator Marjorie Wheatley’s conclusion that the driver “operated his vehicle in a negligent manner by making an improper turn thereby colliding into a pedestrian in faded crosswalk causing his death.”
“He (the driver) should be charged with Title 20 of the Virgin Islands Code Section 504, Negligent Homicide by means of a motor vehicle,” Wheatley wrote in her report.
No Negligent Behavior
The Office of the Attorney General decided not to file criminal charges against St. Luce.
“There is no evidence to support the investigator’s conclusion that negligence should be charged,” said then-Assistant Attorney General Martin Alperen in January 2005. “Both boys ran in front of the truck, and if a person is in a crosswalk and runs in front of a vehicle, it is not negligence.”
Eyewitness reports differed, one stating that Javon began crossing the street at the same time the delivery truck began driving away from the stop sign, the other stating that the boy ran in front of the truck after it had started to drive through the crosswalk.
Alfred is upset that no charges were ever filed against the driver of the delivery truck that struck and killed her son, she explained.
St. John Community Honors Javon
“I knew the guy who was driving, and about 10 years before the accident, I said, ‘he’s going to run down somebody,’” said Alfred. “Nothing happened to the driver, and I’m angry. It’s like my son’s life didn’t have any value.”
The St. John community, however, has not let the memory of Javon Alfred fade.
Since the boy’s death, a basketball tournament and a scholarship have been named in his honor, and flowers and a cross can be found at the intersection where the boy was killed.