Mother of 4-year-old killed in Branford crash remembers son as her ‘sidekick’

BRANFORD – Just days after losing her 4-year-old son, Briana Simuel of Hamden is laughing more than she’s crying, but it's an effort. She said that with her family’s help, she’s staying strong because every memory she has of her son is a happy one.

“My son, he was just so joyful and always smiling,” said Simuel.  “I still feel him no matter where I’m at. I have sleepless nights. I’m not eating. I should be. I’m trying.”

Her son, Jai’rus Jeremiah Little, was severely injured in a car crash Sunday night and later died at the hospital.

She said, “That was like my sidekick. That was somebody who was always going to be with me, every single day, no matter what.”

Simuel wasn't in the car when it crashed in Branford after a dramatic police chase. He was with his father, Brandon Little, who was later arrested on outstanding warrants. The driver, Tyler Carey, was also arrested and is facing numerous charges in relation to the crash.

“I can’t actually sit here and tell the story because I don't actually know the true story,” said Simuel, when asked about what happened that night.

She got the call after the crash and rushed to the hospital. Both parents were there for their son's final moments and both were able to say goodbye.

“My son was like, ‘I’m not going to go without you being here, Ma.’ He knew. He was fighting so much,” said Simuel. Then, she and the boy's father grieved. “Me and his dad laid in the bed with him for hours in just grief because we just lost something so precious.”

Simuel said she still feels her son's presence, and everything seems to remind her of him.

"For me to see him one day and the next day my son is not here. Imagine waking up and you have kids and you're looking for your child, or you're looking to hear that last voice, or them little feet running,” said Simuel. “My baby is showing me a lot of ways he’s still here.”

But she’s working to accept he’s gone and to find the answers for why he had to go so soon.

“It’s just too much. It’s too much on me, but at the same token, I know them little feet are running to heaven.”

Funeral arrangements are being made for next week. The family set up a GoFundme page to help with funeral expenses.