They headed to Jamaica for a respite from the East Coast winter, the grandmother from Brooklyn, N.Y., her daughter, a nurse at Southern Maryland Hospital, and her daughter, a coordinator for a Lanham psychiatric program.

Going back to Jamaica was a rare treat for the family, who originally hailed from Kingston. They had spent time visiting with family and soaking up the sun and local color. They were visiting Trelawny, near Montego Bay, when the vehicle in which they were riding in collided with a minibus. The grandmother, Gloria Capleton, 76, her daughter, Claudette Grant, 53, and Grant’s daughter, Vanessa Brown, 34, were killed on impact, according to a Jamaican news report.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, the crash was the first road accident of the year in the Trelawny. The newspaper reported that Capleton, Grant and Brown were riding in a Nissan Versa with two other people. According to police, the roads were wet and the driver lost control of the vehicle. The car skidded, spun and crashed into the back of a Toyota Coaster bus.

After the accident, a male passenger in the Nissan was treated for injuries and released while the driver was hospitalized. Several occupants of the minibus were treated at a Jamaican hospital and released.

Jamaican police are looking into what caused the crash.

News of the accident shook friends and relatives of the women. Several relatives who gathered at Grant’s Upper Marlboro home on a recent afternoon expressed sorrow, but said they were too overcome to speak about the tragedy.

Colleagues of Brown, a psychiatric rehabilitation program coordinator with Vesta, Inc. in Lanham, said they enjoyed working with her and supported her in her efforts to become a U.S. citizen.

“She finally got her citizenship just a couple of months ago,” said co-worker Jason Jeffrey. “She had the ceremony…got her passport and everything. Such a bright moment for her.”

Even though the family was originally from Kingston, Jamaica, they did not travel back frequently, according to a family member. The winter holidays are a popular time of year to return, she said. Grant, who had two other children, and Brown lived in a house on a cul-de-sac in Upper Marlboro with two dogs after moving to Maryland from Brooklyn in 2002. Brown later moved a few miles away.

Grant worked as a nurse on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Southern Maryland Hospital in Clinton and also was employed at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie.

Grant’s picture has been posted all over the ICU in remembrance of her, according to Southern Maryland Hospital spokesperson Nancy Norman. Her co-workers remembered her as a talented and compassionate medical professional.

“She was a good nurse, a very caring person,” said Dr. Carlos Chiriboga, a long time co-worker of Grant’s. “Her personality was warm. She was quite giving and had strong faith.”

Other nurses recalled her impact on those for whom she cared.

“Her patients had good things to say about her,” said Jenifer King, RN. “When a patient asked ‘Who is my nurse tonight?’ and found out it was Claudette, they ‘Oh good!’”

Brown’s co-workers said she was extremely proud of her Jamaican heritage.

“She would always bring jerk wings to the potluck but a few times her mom actually made them,” said Jeffrey, who was Brown’s supervisor. “Her mom actually came in the office one time and I asked her, ‘Did she make these wings?’ and her mom responded, ‘You know she didn’t make those wings!’”

The family regularly attended Spirit of Faith Christian Center. Funeral arrangements had not been set as of press time.

Teria Rogers

Special to the AFRO