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Family wants justice for 12-year-old Belle Isle hit-and-run victim, hospitalized sister

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 18:58:20-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A hit-and-run driver who took the life of a young girl at Belle Isle Park on Memorial Day and left her sister hospitalized remains in custody as Michigan State Police continues its investigation.

State Police say the two victims were enjoying the beach when they were hit. Authorities are calling this the worst incident on the island in the last five years.

For the victim’s family, the pain is gut wrenching. A representative on their behalf spoke with 7 Action News. Family identified the deceased victim as 12-year-old Ghadeer Sale. They say she was loved by all who knew her.

Adel Moszip, a family friend, says her loved ones are completely devastated over her death, along with the entire Yemeni American community in Dearborn.

“She was full of life, she was bubbly, she was always fun, making jokes. She would always bring a smile to everyone’s face. And she had big dreams,” Moszip said.

He says Ghadeer and her family immigrated to the U.S. three months ago from Yemen.

MSP says the fatal hit-and-run also left the victim’s 14-year-old sister hospitalized. She is listed as stable.

“Just on the beach. They were just on the beach having a good time. And this individual took the life of one and traumatized the other one probably for the rest of her life,” MSP Lt. Mike Shaw said.

Shaw says many witnessed the horrific scene of the driver leaving Riverbank Drive and crashing onto the beach. After he took off from the scene around 8:15 p.m., authorities say they tracked him down hours later on Detroit’s west side and arrested him.

The suspect is currently in jail and has been identified as a 23-year-old man from Ypsilanti.

Investigators will not say whether or not this could have been a hate crime and are still determining if alcohol played a factor.

“I am quite sure that the Wayne County prosecutor, if they determine that there is some type of hate crime involved in this, they’re going to charge with that,” Shaw said.

Troopers say the state park has no cameras installed, but they are in contact with witnesses and want to talk to more along with reviewing any cell phone video that exists.

The family of the victims are asking for support as they mourn one child and pray for the recovery of another, while condemning reckless driving.

“They’re asking just for justice and they’re asking for this not to happen to any other family," Moszip said.

MSP says their investigation could be completed later this week. A decision on possible charges then will be made by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.