and just how does anybody "slip and put his face into a rock"?

Coalition on Homelessness, SF (coh@sfo.com)
Wed, 29 Dec 1999 22:16:25 -0800


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doesn't it just warm your heart this holiday season to see that the 
clerks who sold him the poisons he required to end his life were the 
people who knew him best?

peace to John



Man's body found under bridge

12/25/1999 By CASANDRA ANDREWS Staff Reporter

As motorists zoomed by, hurrying to complete holiday shopping two nights
before Christmas, a man who police say was probably homeless lost his
life beneath a bridge on Moffett Road near Interstate 65.

The 40-year-old, identified by police as John Devery, hometown unknown,
was discovered at 6:48 p.m. Thursday after a phone call tipped
authorities to the location. Police said an autopsy revealed his death
to be accidental.

Dave, another homeless man who gave only his first name to a reporter,
said he called police after the man he knew as "J.D." stumbled in the
darkness and fell down a steep concrete incline beneath the bridge.

"Somebody bought him a half-gallon of whiskey," Dave said Friday, the
tan skin around his eyes crinkling as he squinted in the sun. "J.D.
slipped and put his face into a rock."

Dave, who said he's been staying under the bridge for the last few days,
said he was just a few feet away when the other man lost his balance and
fell about 10 feet.

After the victim hit his head, Dave said he ran across the street to the
Raceway convenience store to call police.

The area off Moffett Road made news in recent days when a Christmas tree
was placed over a manhole cover near the bridge. A television station
interviewed some of the men, and within a day, residents were bringing
the group everything from blankets to ice chests to entire crates of
fruit.

On Friday, gifts were stacked all around a small artificial tree adorned
with a fuzzy red-and-white Santa's hat. Dave said so much had been
dropped off that they could not keep it all. He asked that those who
wished to give them something, drop it off instead at a local charitable
organization.

"We want to give back," he said. "We don't want to see it ruined."

Employees of the gas station and convenience store, Triesha Chastang and
Voncile Irby, both said they knew the man who died Thursday.

"He was a character," Ms. Chastang said. "He always had something to
say. I could tell he had a family around here. He wore name-brand
clothes and they were clean, and he'd have on new shoes."

Ms. Irby talked with the deceased man Thursday when he tried to exchange
a pack of cigarettes.

"He was funny, especially when he would get in one of his moods," Ms.
Irby said. "When he walked out the door he would say 'See you later,
crocodile,' and I would say 'after while, alligator.'"

Ms. Irby said he typically bought beer, cigarettes and "something to
eat."

Railroad tracks criss-cross the area between Moffett Road and Spring
Hill Avenue. Dave said about a dozen people make the nearby woods and
the area under the tracks their home.

The store clerks said they know most of the people who live across the
street and see them nearly every day.

 1999 Mobile Register. Used with permission.

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