Gertrude Price, 65, was a God-fearing family woman. She spent much of her time at church, and her children had come to depend on her as a rock for their family. That rock was stolen by the careless acts of a 22-year old man who didn’t value his life or anyone else’s.
Jonathan Ross of Kansas City has been accused of driving a stolen car more than 80 miles an hour while intoxicated when he ran a red light and hit Gertrude’s car. Price was ejected from the vehicle and died shortly thereafter. Her daughter, Grace Price and another passenger, Kenneth Smith, were also in the car. Grace is expected to recover, and Kenneth is still in critical condition. After the accident, Ross tried to run away from the scene and was captured by police shortly thereafter.
“I haven’t had a great opportunity to grieve just yet. It’s all very surreal,” her daughter, Nicole Price, said to NBC Action News.
Not only was Price’s car hit, but another man’s car was hit as well. The driver of that vehicle, Roy Brooks, is in serious condition. At the time of the accident, Gertrude was on her way to paint the bathrooms of her church.
“When we were growing up she had us in church every time the doors opened. It’s not surprising that she was at the church and painting and doing some work at the church when had the accident,” said her daughter Nicole.
Gertrude left a legacy of seven children, 30 grandchildren and 22 great-grand children. They’ve all lost their precious matriarch due to the irresponsibility of a man who’d never been taught to respect the lives of other people. Ross, for his role in this, is now facing charges of (among other things) second degree murder, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving with a revoked license and stealing a motor vehicle.
When I hear the story of Gertrude Ross, I think about my own mother. She also loves her church and serves as an invaluable part of our family structure. When I think about Jonathan Ross, I think about the 21-year old who shot bullets into a house and hit a three-year old boy in the head just a few weeks ago. This story, for some, is a grim reminder of the disturbing contrasts that exist within urban America, where good citizens find themselves terrorized by lost young men who’ve been manufactured by corporate America’s hip-hop culture to become menaces to society.
When I see young brothers living their lives with the kind of reckless abandon of Jonathan Ross (believe me, there are others like him – good men who’ve been convinced to not give a damn), my mind retraces their upbringing and wonders what went wrong. I think about the days when this man wasn’t the killer that he is today and was instead an innocent little boy with volumes of potential. Then, I look around and see massive amounts of black male unemployment, horrible educational systems, a flawed criminal justice system and music (like Lil Wayne among others), that repeatedly tells them to murder each other and consume deadly amounts of drugs and alcohol. After seeing the cultural tornado under which many of our black men are born, it’s not hard to imagine thousands of scenarios around the nation where little black boys are processed and morphed into the kinds of men who destroy the live of others.
By standing to the side and allowing this culture to marinate without disturbance, our entire community has failed both Gertrude Price and Jonathan Ross. Women like Gertrude should be in a community where they are safe, and Jonathan should have gotten the guidance he needed to NOT grow up and kill other human beings. It was a mixture of racist systems, corporate greed and community apathy that created the scenario that led to Gertrude’s death. We all played a role in this tragedy.