Tragedy and grief rocks Haitian community in Miami

Garth A. Rose

Friends mourn the deaths of three teen Haitian American soccer players who died in accident.

Tragedy and sheer grief have grasped Miami’s Haitian community following an accident which took the lives of three teen Haitian American soccer players on their way to a soccer match in Weston Broward County.

The three teens, Gedeon Desir, 13, Lens Desir 15, (unrelated) and Richearde Dumay, 17, members of a local youth soccer team – Little Haiti Football Club left their respective homes in Little Haiti before sun-up to wait on a bus which was scheduled to take team members to play in a soccer tournament in Weston.

While walking on the sidewalk towards the bus stop near the intersection of NW 125 Street and NW 14 Avenue, the teens were struck and killed by a speeding out of control SUV. Eye-witnesses to the tragic accident described the SUV as going “very, very fast” when he it flow through the intersection into the sidewalk killing the boys on impact at 5.22 am, according to police report.

Female driver identified and charged

The vehicle was driven by a woman, who has since been identified as Mariam Coulibaly, 31. According to the Miami Herald, Coulibaly, who was driving with a suspended license was injured in the accident and is in the intensive care unit in the Aventura Hospital, is an exotic dancer with a suspended driver’s license.  The Herald report indicated she told medical staff she had been partying all night, had blacked out while driving, and when she recovered, she hadn’t realized she had hurt people in the accident. She has subsequently been arrested and charged for vehicular manslaughter.

Looking to impress college scouts

Jaime Josephe a team member of Dumay, who came to the US from Haiti in 2014 and was a student at the Miami Edison High School, said he is “shocked beyond imagination at the death of his friend. Josephe told CNW “On Friday night we were talking how great it was to have the opportunity to be playing a game in Weston. There would be college scouts at the game and both us were keen on playing soccer at the college level. Now he is gone, gone.”  

According to Pat Santangelo, a board member of the Little Haiti Football Club Lens Desir, who also attended Miami Edison High, and Dumay attended were in line to each receive scholarships to attend college next year: one for soccer, one for football. “These were boys who was focused on making something positive of their lives.”

Altar boy

“I just can’t understand why God took these boys away like this. They were good boys. Boys who stayed out of trouble, Christian boys,” said Miriam Bouvais a member of Notre Dame d’Haiti Church, where Gedeon Desir served as an altar boy. “He was there every Sunday morning for the 7:00 am mass. I guess God wanted these boys in the heavenly choir.”

Bouvais told CNW Gedeon has been in Miami for only nine months. “He came here in September of 2018 to attend school at North Miami Middle School. His family in Haiti wanted him to get away from youth violence that is taking hold of the country. They wanted him to have a good life in America.”

Lens Desir migrated to Miami from Haiti two years ago and lived with his parents Penel and Miriam Jean. His parents said their soon made them proud of his good behavior, his application to his school-work, and most of all his dedicated to becoming a good soccer player.

The Little Haiti Football club was created in 2014 to provide support to low-income children from the Haitian community in Miami.

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