FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The family of a North Texas boy left suffering in a vegetative state for years before he died, Tuesday faced the drunk driver who caused the crash in court.
“I waited for this day to say it and I just can’t find the words—the right words— to say it,” mother Loubna Elharazin, said as she fought a losing battle to hold back the tears. Elharazin speaks multiple languages, but some losses just have no words.
Her son, Abdallah Khader was buckled in the back seat as the family left a happy get together with relatives in February of 2009. They were stopped at a red light on Cooper Street in Arlington when Stewart Richardson, a man described as a serial drunk driver, slammed into the back of the family’s car.
Abdallah Khader, who family members say spoke three languages, survived, but languished for six long years with 80-percent of his brain irreparably damaged.
Elharazin was his primary caregiver and ignored doctors who warned her that the child likely was not aware of her or his surroundings. Sobbing, Elharazin testified that as she cared for her son and moved him often to avoid bed sores, “I know that he knows that I’m his Mom.”
Abdallah’s father and half-brother also testified. Ghazi Khader talked about how he was in the back seat teasing his baby brother just seconds before the crash. “He was getting irritated and he started telling me to ‘get up,’” testified Khader, “and as soon as I got up, we were hit, so he basically saved my life.”
Richardson has admitted guilt in the crash. The trial now underway in the 396th Tarrant County Court before Judge George Gallagher will determine his punishment for five counts related to the accident, including felony DWI and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Judge Gallagher will determine the punishment which could range from five to 99 years in prison.
Over the years, Elharazin testified that her faith led her to forgive Richardson. “I truly do forgive him. I stand here today for justice. Forgiveness has nothing to do with justice.”
And yet the family’s obvious anguish reminds that neither forgiveness nor justice makes the pain go away. “What hurt me most yesterday is knowing that he’s able to write to people in Iowa or Ohio, he’s able to make phone calls to them,” he should have wrote a letter, an empty piece of paper just with one word saying `sorry’… ‘I’m sorry!’,” said Loubna as she concluded the most powerful testimony of the day. “He never said sorry to me. He waited after five years until the media went to his jail, ‘Oh, tell Loubna, I’m sorry’. I didn’t lose a purse or piece of socks, I lost a son.”
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