MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Friends and family of a Miami pastor and another man who died last weekend in front of Jumbo’s held a memorial service Sunday at the restaurant in their honor.
The service, which began at 3 p.m., included a gospel fundraiser. All of the money raised will go the families of Pastor Wilton Harris and Deacon AlJo Hamlin who spent every Sunday at the restaurant and many other preaching and ministering to others.
“This is a day of celebration of two wonderful people’s lives,” said Jumbo’s owner Bobby Flam.
Harris and Hamlin were talking in front of the Liberty City restaurant last Saturday when Antonio Lawrence, 53, lost control of his truck near the intersection of Northwest 75th Street and hit the men. Lawrence also hit a car which went through the front of the restaurant. No one inside the popular eatery was hurt.
Harris was a pastor at the St. Barnabas Wesleyan Methodist church, but he often took his sermons to Jumbo’s.
A field sobriety test showed Lawrence had a blood alcohol level of .253, more than three times the legal limit. A half bottled of brandy was found in the truck.
“It’s a justice but it’s an injustice because the young man that was driving the vehicle really needs some counseling,” said Hamlin’s wife Patricia Williams. “I don’t fault him. I fault the system because they should have caught this with the first DUI.”
Lawrence has been charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter and is being held on $30,000 bond.
Records show that Lawrence was arrest in 2007 for DUI. Records show he was also arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in 1999 and assault and battery in 2004.
“I don’t fault him. I fault the system because they should have caught this with the first DUI,” said Williams.
Williams was married to Hamlin for 17 years said it was difficult to return to the place where he died.
“It’s a hurt but I’ve learned and the teachings that I’ve had is not hold it but to release it because I know he’s in a better place,” said Williams.
Hamlin’s ex-wife Edwena Howard is also the mother of four adult children that he leaves behind.
“I’m trying not to break down,” said Howard, “I’m trying to be there for them.”