RIVIERA BEACH – Three of five victims of a horrific crash on Saturday night will likely be remembered together at joint funeral services next weekend, Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters announced.
The location and arrangements for services on April 27 for Makita Campbell, 14, and Jason Mahlung and Orane Cummings, both 22, were still being finalized midweek.
Funeral director Timothy E. Kitchens of Timothy E. Kitchens Funeral Home Inc. has volunteered his services, including no charge for embalming, the caskets and limousines for the families.
“We want to take the burden off of the families at this difficult time,” Kitchens said at a press conference held by Masters Tuesday at Hilltop Missionary Baptist Church, 1273 W. 30th St., Riviera Beach.
Masters said he is holding talks with businesses to help families complete the arrangements. There was need, he said, for food to be donated for a repast to be held after the joint service.
The crash also killed Shonteria Grimsley and her best friend Christina Oliver Joseph, both 17. Their families were making separate arrangements for their funerals. Witnesses told police the crash took place around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, when Jabari Kemp, 21, of Florida City, driving a 2008 Mercedes, allegedly ran a red light as he exited Interstate 95 at Blue Heron Boulevard. The Mercedes plowed into a 1994 Lexus driven by Mahlung that carried all five of the victims.
According to Florida High Way Patrol accounts of the accident, Makita, Shonteria and Christina were sitting in the back seat of the Lexus and none were wearing seat belts. Cummings, the front seat passenger, wore a seat belt but the full impact of the crash killed him nonetheless.
According to a Palm Beach Post report, the girls were being given a ride home by Mahlung; Christina was a friend of his girlfriend.
Kemp was released from St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach. According to a local television station, toxicology results showed that he was not impaired by drugs or alcohol. So far, no charges had been filed.
Flags at City Hall in Riviera Beach are being flown at half staff until around April 29. State Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, arranged for a moment of silence in the Florida House and Senate on Tuesday.
A tribute and memorial benefit will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Hilltop Missionary Baptist. The program will feature choirs, singers, rappers and poets.
“Riviera Beach has always gone the extra mile, especially for our
children,” Masters said. “This is very emotional for me, even at this point. It’s been a tough week but, for the grace of God, we’re getting through this.”
Newly elected Riviera Beach Councilman Terence Davis, who was at the press conference, said the families needed the community’s support.
“This is going to be an ongoing effort as we try to get through this as a community,” Davis said.
Daphne Taylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org