Lewiston, ME: Somali woman with no driver’s license runs down student
Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 15, 2010
Boy, this is one strange story. Here is how it begins at the Sun Journal (hat tip: Susan):
LEWISTON — A teenager was struck by a car and the driver was arrested Thursday morning after an accident at the high school.
Police said Lewiston High School junior Kelsey Cope-Norris, 16, was struck by a car driven by Bilow Farah, 33, of Lewiston.
Thursday night, Cope-Norris was being treated at Central Maine Medical Center for broken bones and other injuries. She was listed in good condition.
It happened at about 7:30 a.m. Police said Cope-Norris was walking on a path between the school parking lot and an access road when a Mercedes Benz SUV driven by Farah veered onto the path. [How on earth does a refugee have a Mercedes? Is she in the convenience store business, or perhaps home health care?]
Cope-Norris was knocked to the ground and Farah’s SUV plowed into seven other vehicles parked in the lot, police said.
Farah was treated at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and released. She was then arrested on charges of driving without a license and driving to endanger. She was booked at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn and released on bail later in the day.
Detective William Brochu found that Farah was driving with an expired permit and had been dropping her sons off at the school. She was arrested with bail conditions that she not drive until licensed. She is scheduled to appear in court in February.
Witnesses said Farah may have become impatient with long lines of cars as people waited to drop off their children at the school. She tried to drive around the line, according to several witnesses, before striking Cope-Norris.
A commenter at another site (I’m told here, but am not seeing the comments) says she was there when the accident happened and this is her account—a different and more frightening version. From ‘Nancy’:
“I think it is important to know what actually happenned. I was in line behind the SUV that hit this young lady. The driver had just dropped off 5 young men at the high school. The vehicle then sat there in the driving lane while cars backed up behind us. The driver then put on her blinker as if to make a U-turn which would have brought her right into the line of busses and/or other students arriving by private car. Again she sat there waiting. The driver then decided to blast through the snowbank to her right and careened down the walkway that students use. The driver never faltered and continued to accelerate. She impacted with the student, continued on into a parked car, pushed that vehicle aside, and kept going until she impacted and was stopped by several other parked cars. This was not an accident caused by someone who “lost control” as stated by Channel 8. This was done by someone who CHOSE to ignore all traffic laws and common sense, and in doing so, endangered the life of a student. Maybe the laws are different in Somalia, you are here now….follow ours.”
I don’t get it really, this is just one of many many stories we have had from around the country about Somalis driving recklessly and without proper driver’s licenses. Does no one ever notice erratic driving (and report it) before one of these accidents occurs?
Finally the report at the Sun Journal adds a couple of nuggets of information that add some irony (humor!) to this story.
First, it seems that the girl who was injured and is reportedly (thankfully) doing well, organized a Lewiston High School ”Diversity walk.”
Cope-Norris, an accomplished artist, was a nominee for the 2009 Lewiston Shining Star award. She was also one of the organizers of the LHS Walk for Diversity last April.
And, the woman charged had been featured as a successful Somali Bantu immigrant to Maine in a college report.
Farah has been featured in a series by Colby College in Waterville about Somali Bantus who immigrated to Maine from Africa.
We have written lots of posts about the on-going issues involving Somalis in Lewiston, ME. This post from last November is a good summary of how Somalis came to be in Lewiston, the welfare magnet, Maine. Use our search function to find the other posts.
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