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Friday, May 24, 2024

Five members dead after fatal car crash on Interstate 81

Vigils, prayers, and communal gatherings are being organized to honor their memory and provide solace to the grieving community.

In a heartbreaking incident that shook the upstate New York Muslim community on Tuesday, tragedy struck as five members of the Zebari family lost their lives in a fatal car crash on Interstate 81 North in Scott Twp. The victims, Berivan Zebari, Havrist Zebari, and Aleen Ameen, were returning home from a pilgrimage to Mecca known as Umrah. The tight-knit community is now grappling with the immense loss of these beloved individuals.

Pilgrimage and Community Impact

The Zebari family, along with two other relatives, embarked on a journey to Washington Dulles International Airport to fulfill their religious duty of performing Umrah. The news of their pilgrimage had been the focal point of conversations within the community for months. Karwan Zebari, a family member, expressed the deep impact the three women had on their community, highlighting their leadership qualities, character, and the respect they commanded among their peers.

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Tragic Accident

The fatal incident occurred around 5:14 p.m. on Interstate 81 North when the driver of a 2022 Honda Odyssey, occupied by the three women, lost control of the vehicle and collided with a concrete divider. The minivan was left disabled in the left lane. A chain of events unfolded when the driver of an Audi A6, carrying two relatives of the women in the Odyssey, stopped on the right shoulder. Tragically, a northbound tractor-trailer collided with the disabled Odyssey, resulting in multiple fatalities.

Investigation and Questions

The state police are actively investigating the cause of the crash. The sequence of events leading to the tragic collision raises questions about road safety and the circumstances that led to the fatal accident. Authorities are working to determine the factors that contributed to the devastating loss of lives.

Past Tragedies on Interstate 81

The incident occurred not far from the site of a previous tragedy in 2016, where a wrong-way crash claimed the lives of five individuals. The stark similarities between the two incidents prompt reflection on the safety measures in place on Interstate 81. Gennadiy Manannikov, responsible for the 2016 crash, pleaded guilty to DUI charges and was sentenced to 18 to 36 years in state prison. These incidents highlight the need for continued efforts to improve road safety and prevent such devastating accidents.

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The Zebari family’s tragic loss has left a grievous void in the hearts of the upstate New York Muslim community. The impact of their absence is deeply felt, and the community is coming together to mourn, support one another, and remember the lives of Berivan Zebari, Havrist Zebari, and Aleen Ameen. Vigils, prayers, and communal gatherings are being organized to honor their memory and provide solace to the grieving community.