Candlelight vigil held for young crash victim


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday at 6 p.m. in memory of 8-year-old Jakobe Johnson at Avondale Elementary School, where Johnson attended. Johnson and two others were killed in a car accident on Saturday, Dec. 20 on U.S. Highway 79. 

The Avondale PTA and the school hosted the vigil in front of the school, rain or shine. Attendees were invited to bring cards, flowers and wreaths to place at the sign in front of the school.

“This is a terrible loss for the Avondale family,” said Principal Courtney Nelson, “[Jakobe] was a great student loved by his classmates…He will be missed.”

“I miss how we used to always go out before dismissal and we used to go play, and how we always used to have jokes,” said Shamiya White, a 4th grade friend.

Jakobe, along with Cardwell Coachman, 8, and Diane McGlown, 47, were riding in a car with two other females when a car driven by Lawrence Jason Bewley, 45, collided with their vehicle on Dec. 20. McGlown, Johnson, and Coachman all died, and the two other women were taken to the hospital.

Jakobe’s third grade teacher, Sandra Martin, will never forget her last interaction with him, one day before his death, which she learned online.

“I just crumbled, because I thought about the last time I saw him, you know he was the last kid on Friday that I said good bye to, and I told him I loved him and have a Merry Christmas,” she said.

Jakobe was clearly loved by many, his aunt, who works in the school’s cafeteria was also involved in the wreck, she was released from the hospital Tuesday night and still made it out to remember her nephew.

Other various members of his family came out and was overwhelmed by the support of his school,  “like I said, God is going to pull us through and we’re going to make it,” Linda Williams, Jakobe’s guardian. “It’s awesome that this school came together, that really touches my heart and I thank them very much for that.”

In his short, joyful life, Jakobe Johnson left behind a lesson to all, “things in life happen, and the ones that are left behind have to find a way to move forward, and to draw strength from those that we love and we miss,” said Martin.

Lawrence Bewley is now facing three counts of murder. He was arrested for DUI at the scene. Randy Christian with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit when tested after the crash.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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