St. Thomas homeless man dies after being struck by vehicle


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ST. THOMAS - A homeless man whose face was familiar to many St. Thomians died Wednesday after a vehicle hit him while he was crossing Weymouth Rhymer Highway on Tuesday evening.

Jeffery Smith was known by passers-by as the man that sat on the railing of Raphune Hill, often seen brushing his beard alongside a shopping cart.

V.I. Police identified Smith as the victim of the accident and reported that he was 54 years old, though family members said Thursday that he was younger.

Smith was struck while pushing a shopping cart southbound on Rhymer Highway about 9:11 p.m. Tuesday, according to the driver of the vehicle that hit him. The driver, who told police he did not see Smith because of the dark, was driving a beige Toyota Four Runner when he struck Smith near the entrance of the New Herrnhut Moravian Church.

Smith suffered severe injuries to his lower body, and an ambulance transported him to the Schneider Hospital shortly thereafter, according to police.

Smith died about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to medical staff at the hospital.

V.I. Police are investigating the case.

They did not say whether alcohol could have been a factor in the accident or whether the driver could face charges.

However, Smith's family said that it was merely a case of unfortunate timing. Family members said that he suffered from mental illness, though he was a good and gentle man.

He had been homeless for several years, they said.

Smith, who was one of nine children, originally is from Tortola, according to his family.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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