‘I wish I would’ve had more time’: Sister mourns brother’s death after conveyor accident at UPS facility

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jakob Watson died of injuries in a conveyor belt accident at the UPS facility at Gardner Avenue and Century Drive on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

He was a son, brother, uncle and friend. The people around him were his most precious blessing. 

The 24-year-old’s sister, Heather Steele, described feeling a punch in the gut when she first learned her little brother was injured and fighting for his life. 

“You never think that you’re going to get that type of phone calls, you know?” Steele said. “Old people die, not kids, you know?”

Watson was described as a big kid who loved Star Wars, anime and video games. He had just celebrated his 24th birthday on Feb. 2. 

“He got to celebrate his birthday by watching the Chiefs win the Super Bowl,” Steele said. 

Watson spent that night with his mom and sister. The next morning, doing his sister a favor by gassing up her car while she got her daughter ready for school. 

“And I gave him my debit card and everything, and he came back and gave me my debit card back and said, ‘I got it, don’t worry about it.'”

It was that kind of generosity and willingness to help that his sister will miss the most abut her little brother. One week later, Steele said “I love you” for the last time in the North Kansas City Hospital ICU. 

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do anymore,” Steele said through her tears. “I mean, I don’t know really. How are you supposed to say goodbye to your baby brother, you know?”

Watson fought hard for several hours to live, his sister said. However, a traumatic brain injury, a shoulder injury, broken ribs and a broken spine eventually took the young man’s life. 

“I wish I would’ve had more time, that I could get all that time back,” Steele said. “You know, I think everybody can learn a lesson that. Tomorrow is not promised and just let people know how much they mean to you every chance that you get.”

OSHA is investigating the accident. Watson’s family hopes they can get to the bottom of what happened so no other family has to go through the pain they are now.

If you would like to help Watson’s family, they are taking donations for Jakob’s funeral fund on GoFundMe.

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