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Family's visit to McDonald's in Ajman ends in tragedy

AJMAN // Othman Mohammed’s wife was treating her daughter and grandson to a McDonald’s meal when the unthinkable happened.

A man suffered an epileptic fit at the wheel of his pick-up truck and crashed it through the front window of the restaurant at an Eppco petrol station.

Mrs Mohammed, who had only been in the country for a visit since Thursday, was killed instantly, as was a nearby Iraqi boy, 9. Her grandson suffered a serious head injury. “My daughter called me and said that they were at the hospital, with no details,” said Mr Mohammed, 53, from India.

“When I got there I discovered that my wife had been killed.”

After the accident, about 8.30pm on Sunday, police and doctors warned that people with illnesses that cause fits and seizures, such as epilepsy, should not be driving.

Police said the driver, an Emirati aged 22, would be charged, because he drove while knowing he had the illness.

Mr Mohammed will take his wife’s body back to India after completing the paperwork.

Another Indian, Abubaker Al Sadeq, was cleaning tables when the crash occurred.

“I found myself under the car and my head bleeding, then I fell unconscious.” The 27-year-old had injuries to his head and left eye but was in a stable condition.

Two Iraqi girls, aged 5 and 10, had operations for fractures they received in the accident.

An Arab man, 59, was also injured, said Saleh Al Junaibi, director of Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman. “The injured were admitted to the emergency ward for initial check-ups and treatment. The two bodies were taken to the mortuary.”

Police and safety experts have called for barriers to be installed outside petrol stations and shops that are close to roads or parking lots to prevent such incidents.

Col Abdullah Al Hamrani, Ajman Police deputy commander general, said officers and the municipality were looking into it. The use of barriers in front of such shops made sense, said Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE.

“Unfortunately it happens occasionally that motorists mix up the pedals or get distracted while they try to park and ram into buildings.”

But the responsibility ultimately lay with the motorist, Mr Edelmann said. “Drivers should take responsibility for their own safety, the safety of their passengers and fellow traffic participants, and drive only if they are fully fit to control a vehicle.

“This includes medical conditions, limits due to use of medication, alertness levels, fatigue, being free of limiting influences such as alcohol or drugs, proper eyesight and overall fitness.”

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(via The National)