Widow begs public to stay home during coronavirus after husband's death

Kameleon007/iStock(DETROIT) — A Detroit bus driver who urged his community to take coronavirus precautions seriously died of the virus, and now his family has extended his battle cry.

“I promise you, you do not want to be the person sitting right here right now trying to make funeral arrangements for your loved,” Desha Johnson-Hargrove told ABC News in an exclusive interview after her husband Jason Hargrove died from COVID-19. “Please, people, I’m begging you. I am begging you. Do not let my husband’s death be in vain.”

Despite stay-at-home orders across much of the U.S., some people have disregarded the warnings and continue to pack parks, pile into grocery stores and attend church services in large gatherings that could have potentially serious consequences.

Hargrove, a former employee of the Detroit Department of Transportation, warned his followers on Facebook about those dangers just days before he contracted the virus that later killed him.

“It was about eight or nine people on the bus and she stood there and coughed and never covered up her mouth,” Hargrove said in the eight-minute video explaining his anger and frustration over a passenger’s behavior. “We out here as public workers trying to do our job, trying to make an honest living, trying to care of our families, but for you to get on the bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering your mouth — and you know that we are in the middle of a pandemic — that let’s me know that some folks don’t care.”

While there is no definitive answer as to how the father of six contracted the virus, his wife wondered if that passenger’s alleged cough put her husband at greater risk.

“When he came home, he was so distressed, he got out of the clothes — it bothered him so bad,” she recalled. “He talked about it. He just kept saying, ‘Baby, I’m so mad.’ And I just kept trying to calm him down. And I’m just like, ‘It’s going to be O.K.'”

The mother and widow said he feared going to work every day because his job required him to physically interact with the public.

Their daughter Darmone Hargrove, 26, said her father, who was “there for other citizens — did not deserve this” and called his untimely death “so hurtful.”

Jason Hargrove’s initial Facebook post has garnered nearly 700,000 views and his page had an image of him in a mask with the caption “I cannot stay home…. I’m on the road for you.”

His son Darshawn, 21, said through tears, “In the end he wasn’t alright.”

“I am pleading with everyone if you do not just have to be out. Please obey your orders,” the mother of six implored. “This is not a game out here. This is not a joke out here. I am missing my husband, and my children don’t have their dad anymore. This is serious.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.