By the time Derrick Black and Sonya Muhammad learned that there was a freezing rain advisory in Dover, Ohio and people were warned not be out, they had already slid on a patch of black ice, crashed into the mountains that lined I-77 North and flipped over several times.
“The time was 1:48 a.m. I clearly remember it. I lost control of the car,” said Mr. Black who was driving to Saviours’ Day, Feb. 25, in Detroit, Mich. “I felt it sliding, hit the mountain rocks and then flip back toward the highway.”
For Ms. Muhammad, it was a living nightmare. “I remember my hand holding on to the roof of the van and my head was against the glass. We just kept flipping over and I wasn’t sure where we would end,” she told The Final Call.
The end came right before the car fell off of a cliff.
“When we stopped rolling, I didn’t see any of my children,” she said.
The six children, seat belted in the van, were thrown in all directions.
“We had to climb out of the windows because the doors wouldn’t open,” Mr. Black told The Final Call. “Rashad (four years old) and Kamal (two years old) were at my feet. They only had minor cuts and bruises because they were in booster seats.”
“We started looking for the other children. It was still raining and we were bracing ourselves for the worst,” he said.
Laying along side the road was 11-year-old Ahmad.
“His body was so mangled. I thought he was dead,” explained his mother in tears. “If he was, then I just wanted Allah’s will to be done. I didn’t want him to suffer. I didn’t want him to be in pain.”
Five-year-old, Nadirah laid in the road like a broken doll. Najah, 7, was found on the mountain bleeding from her head.
But where was 13-year-old David Justice?
“David Justice was trapped under the van,” said Ms. Muhammad. “He had to stay there for two hours before the ambulance came to remove him.”
It took five different ambulances to come and take everyone to the Union Hospital in Dover, Ohio, but they were soon transferred to the Akron Children’s Hospital where they would receive better treatment.
“David Justice has a broken collar bone, a severely broken hip and will eventually need a hip replacement. Ahmad was in a coma, his back is broken in two places, his shoulder is broken and there is no movement in his right arm.”
“Najah has a skull fracture, brain bleeding, a torn lung and an infection that may be meningitis. Nadirah has a broken left arm and bruised lungs. We are so thankful that Allah spared their lives. I’m just so grateful,” explained their mother.
They are getting better
At press time, “Nadirah has been released. She’s doing a lot better. Najah has had two eye surgeries and she’s on three antibiotics to treat possible infections,” explained Kevin Muhammad, the younger four children’s father.
She was transferred Mar. 14, to Charlotte’s Carolina Medical Center to their Rehabilitation Center.
For David Muhammad, the father of David Justice and Ahmad, it was a quick trip to Ohio from New York and a security post with his sons.
“I’ve been with them ever since I got here. One night I slept in intensive care with Ahmad and the next night I was upstairs with David Justice. I pray that Allah removes this. Ahmad is really having a bad time,” he told The Final Call.
“David Justice told me that he had a dream that he would walk again and help the Minister. I knew he was doing better when he asked me for a DVD or CD of Minister Farrakhan’s lecture. He said, ‘I didn’t come all this way for nothing. I want to hear the Minister.’”
Both boys have been transferred to rehabilitation centers–David Justice to Winston Salem’s Baptist Hospital’s burn center on Mar. 13 and Ahmad is with his sister Najah in Charlotte. Ahmad is learning how to walk all over again while Najah recovers from brain damage.
Home away from home
When Minister Jamil Muhammad, national spokesman for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan heard the news about the accident, he drove to Akron to be with the family.
“I wanted to pray with them first and thank the medical staff at Akron Children’s Hospital where the children have been stabilized. I also wanted to express Minister Farrakhan’s concern and love for the family.”
“Under the circumstances, they’re doing well. This is a blended family that has pulled together under these adverse circumstances for the good of all. I saw in laws, family members from Chicago, Baltimore and New York all surrounding the family with love.
With love is how Mrs. Muhammad explains that they have been received by the Muslim members of the local Nation of Islam study groups in Youngstown and Akron, Ohio. People even came from Cleveland to express their concerns.
“I want to thank the Ronald McDonald House for all of their help and I want to especially thank all of the Believers from the state of Ohio who have come to our rescue and helped us. They have been just great,” said Mr. Kevin Muhammad.
(At Final Call press time, photos of the family were not available. In future editions, The Final Call intends on printing updates of the healing progress of all those involved in the accident.)