Her beloved daughter was ripped from her – right in front of her eyes.
It’s been less than a week since a horrific car accident claimed the life of Jade-lee Morrison (17). Her mother, Sharon (50), says she can’t forget the images of the gruesome crash. How the collision happened meters in front of her. The shock seeping through her body, and her daughter’s broken body lying near the wreckage.
“There aren’t words to describe how broken I am. Nothing can ever make it better – ever again. I don’t know how one carries on, how one comes to terms with it,” Sharon told YOU over the phone on Wednesday.
In the early hours of Saturday 14 December, Jade-lee was a passenger in the car her friend, Natasha Greyvenstein (27), was driving. They were on their way home from a party and Sharon was driving behind them.
“We were just a few hundred metres from home,” Sharon recalls.
“The light was red and we both stopped. When the green arrow to turn right started flickering, Natasha pulled away. That’s when a car hit them head-on.”
Sharon’s voice cracks. “It’s as if it happens in slow motion. You see the impact; you see the car spinning. I could see how the impact made the car they were in spin past me . . .”
Sharon jumped out and ran toward the wreck. The main impact had been to the front passenger side – where Jade-lee had been sitting.
“I can’t even recall what went through my mind . . . fear, anxiety, rage. I remember screaming, ‘The light was red!’ But it didn’t matter – the accident had already happened.
“While I’d started dialling for an ambulance, I ran to the driver’s side and banged on the window. I was hysterical. There was no response. I ran back around, and then I saw the full extent of the impact . . . Jade’s door was bent inward, the window broken. Both girls were unconscious. There was blood everywhere.”
And then the horrific images she can’t get from her mind. “My little girl . . . You don’t know if she’s alive or dead. A part of the engine was on top of her lap. It was horrifying, absolutely heart-breaking.”
Bystanders who’d stopped at the scene helped get Jade-lee from the wreckage before emergency service arrived. Sharon performed CPR on her daughter, but in vain.
“I never felt a heartbeat . . . You can’t describe it to anyone. The blood. The smells. The fear. You never think it’ll happen to you – until it does. And then it completely shatters you.”
Emergency services declared Jade-lee dead at the scene. Natasha was seriously injured and taken to the nearby Arwyp Hospital in Kempton Park, on Johannesburg’s East Rand. She’s still in hospital.
The driver of the car, whose identity hasn’t been released by police, fled the scene. He turned himself in the next day. He now faces a charge of culpable homicide, and has since appeared in the Kempton Park magistrate’s court, where he was granted bail.
Sharon says her partner, Louis Vorster (54), her son, Janeale (22) and stepdaughter, Nadine (18), are supporting her emotionally.
“I think it’s always painful to come to terms with the death of your child. But to have to see how she died . . . I don’t think I’ll ever make peace with that.
“But I’m holding on to the good memories – how beloved she was, how much love she gave.”
Jade-lee would’ve turned 18 on 20 December. She’s being laid to a rest a day before her birthday.