Mother of 4-year-old boy who died after a stolen car crash speaks out

Jarius Benjamin (Photo courtesy of the Benjamin family)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Briana Simuel, the mother of a 4-year-old boy killed in a stolen car crash in Branford, leaned against a telephone pole, holding herself up against her grief and her memories.

“He was joyful,” said Simuel. “You think he was 4 years old? He was a 44-year-old. That boy was smart.”

Candles and a teddy bear were spread out near Simuel’s feet.  It was part of a small memorial set up Monday night for her son, Jai’rus Jerimiah Little.

“I can’t cry,” said Simuel.  “I have to be strong.”

Jai’rus Little (Photo courtesy of the Benjamin family)
Jai’rus Little (Photo courtesy of the Benjamin family)

Simuel’s son, Jai’rus Little, died Sunday night after a police chase and head on collision. Jai’rus was spending time with his father, Brandon Little, that night.

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“I was at work,” said Simuel. “I gave my son the chance to be with his dad that day.”

Brandon Little, his son, Jai’rus and three other minors were with driver, Tyler Carey in a Toyota Corolla that police say was stolen. Court documents say an East Haven police officer tried to pull the Corolla over for a broken tail light.  Carey allegedly would not stop and led police on a high speed chase on I-95 from East Haven to Branford. According to court documents, Little said they were going 105 mph. East Haven police say they eventually called off the chase fearing it was getting too dangerous.

A few moments later, on Route 1 in Branford, surveillance video captured a head-on collision, as Tyler Carey allegedly swings the Corolla into oncoming traffic and crashes head-on with another car.

Jai’rus, whom court documents say was on his father’s lap, in the front seat with the belt tucked around them, died from his injuries. Briana Simuel has so many questions.

“I just want to know why wouldn’t Tyler stop?” said Simuel. “Why? That’s a baby. Oh, that’s a baby.”

Some of the charges filed against Carey are larceny in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, risk of injury to or impairing morals of children, engaging the police in pursuit, reckless driving, and improper use of registration. His bond is set at $500,000.

According to East Haven police, Brandon Little was arrested for outstanding warrants.

As rain and tears wash over the teddy bear and candles, the boy’s mom and grandmother leaned into each other remembering the child that loved Batman, Ninja Turtles and his family.

Ronita Simuel, Jai’rus’ grandmother, remembered his joy.

“He was always happy,” said Ronita Simuel. “Even when he was wearing those eyebrows (she furrows her brow), you’d have to really look to see if he was upset.”

Jai’rus Little (Photo courtesy of the Benjamin family)
Jai’rus Little (Photo courtesy of the Benjamin family)

“That was my sidekick,” said Briana Simuel. “That bond will never be broken, no matter how many kids I got, they will never replace Jai’rus, never.”

Jai’rus will be laid to rest on Tuesday, December 6th.

Viewing and services will be at Wayfairing Ministries at 29 Marnes Street Rear in Hamden, CT.

Viewing will be from 10-11 a.m. The service will follow at 11 a.m.