DETROIT (WJBK)-Sterling Heights police say the man who ran over and killed a mom pushing her teenage son in a wheelchair Monday night was not racing, as originally thought, but was high. While the family grieves their loss, the suspected driver is behind bars.
Linda Khayya, 47, lived at the Bristol Village Apartments on Ryan Road near 14 Mile. Khayya and her 15-year-old son had just picked up a few groceries from the market across the street and she was pushing Randee in the wheelchair across Ryan when they were ran over by the driver.
Her niece, Christine Istefan, spoke for the family on Tuesday, the day after the accident.
"They gave us the news that she passed away and it's heartbreaking. It's very heartbreaking," Istefan said. "The person didn't even have the decency to stop and see if they were okay."
While the driver didn't stop, police were able to track him down. They found a red Cadillac in Highland Park where they arrested a 22-year-old Sterling Heights man. Police suspect he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.
As for Khayya, a native of Iraq, she had only been in the United States for a couple of years. The family is stunned by what happened.
"She was very happy to be here, she finally made it here among her brothers and sisters and cousins and stuff like that," Istefan said. "To lose her at the age of 47 to a tragedy like this that could have been prevented, it's heartbreaking."
Randee survived but he is both physically and mentally challenged. Family members say his mother was his everything and he's crying for his mom but may never comprehend that she's not coming back.
"He keeps calling mom, of course mom is his only word because she's the only one," Istefan said. "I don't think he can comprehend the fact that she's gone. I don't think he'll ever comprehend that. She didn't give up on him. She never gave up on him. She took care of him no matter what."
Randee remains hospitalized with a broken pelvis. His family does not know what the future holds for him without his mother.
Khayya also leaves behind two other sons and a daughter as well as her two granddaughters who will never get to know their grandmother.