DERBY, Conn. (WTNH) — Chanel Howard is trying to stay strong during her time of so much pain.
On Tuesday night, her 20 year-old son Shyheim Samuel died in a crash in Seymour that seriously injured five teenagers. Shyheim was a passenger in the car that went off the road on Rimmon Street — flipped over — and crashed into a utility pole. Police have not released any names or what caused the crash. They did say speed played a role in the crash. Shyheim’s mother wants answers. For now, she’s being comforted by family and friends and people in the Derby neighborhood where she lives and where Shyheim grew up.
On Friday night, 5th Street in Derby was filled with white balloons, tears and hugs as the community came together to show their love for him and his family.
“It means a lot to me,” Chanel Howard said. “The neighborhood and everyone coming together for my son. I just feel a lot of love.”
You can see how much Shyheim was loved in this neighborhood as the vigil grew bigger and more and more people went to the corner store — Checker’s Food and Deli — to donate money to help the family with funeral expenses.
“We just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Jose Rosario, who works at the store.
The man who planned the vigil says gestures like these show this is a tight-knit community.
“Everybody knows everybody,” said Pastor Dennis Marroquin, of the New Beginnings Church of God in Derby. “We’ve always come together and just do activities in the neighborhood, so this was something that I thought was necessary to show support.”
Shyheim’s mother says the support is helping her cope and stay strong.
“I am going to continue to be strong for his sister, his niece and nephew,” Chanel said. “He would want me to be strong. He wouldn’t want me sitting around and crying………I appreciate everything that everyone’s done or doing.”