Vigil held for family killed in NJ Turnpike accident - Dallas News |

Vigil held for family killed in NJ Turnpike accident

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Family and friends came together in Lithonia on Wednesday to remember a family killed in a car accident. An 18-year-old woman who lost her brother and parents in the accident joined mourners in remembering the Mallets.

Ainsworth and Jaqueline Mallett, their 12-year-old son Drew died in a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike on Dec. 27. Nikki Mallett, 18, survived the crash. The family was on their way back from a holiday visit.

A candlelight vigil was held on Wednesday at the Golden Krust restaurant in Lithonia, which the Mallets had opened about seven years ago.

Nikki Mallett returned to Georgia after being treated and released from a New Jersey hospital. She made an appearance with her aunt at the vigil but did not speak publicly.

Friends say the family was an important part of metro Atlanta's Jamaican community.

"Jovial folks. Friendly. Easy to get along with. Helped the community in whatever way they can, and they're going to be sadly missed," said Errol Ritchie of the Atlanta Jamaican Association.

Jacqueline Mallett, 49, was an administrative assistant at nearby Stephenson Middle School. Ainsworth Mallett, 51, was well-known in the restaurant business.

The family-owned restaurant re-opened without his leadership and there is a move to keep it going.

"I'm thinking if we were to close down, we practically would be getting rid of Mallett, so keeping it alive is definitely appropriate," said Jacqueline Hawthorne Robinson.

With the funeral for Ainsworth, Jacqueline and Drew Mallett approaching, the attention has turned to helping Nikki Mallett, her aunt and other members with community support and lots of prayer.

The funeral for the Malletts is scheduled for Saturday.

A memorial fund has been established for them at PNC Bank.

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