An unlicensed driver in Ohio has been convicted of reckless driving in connection with the death of a seven-month-old boy. Muhuba A. Mohamed, 32, was found guilty on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide by Common Pleas Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt in the June 2, 2016, crash. Mohamed is a refugee from Somali with a history of reckless driving. At the time of the deadly single-car accident, she was driving on a learner’s permit.
Aggravated vehicular homicide carries a sentence of anything from one to five years in prison. The judge also has the option of assigning probation instead of prison time. This is a felony charge. While the prosecution asked for a felony conviction, the defense argued this should end in a misdemeanor charge.
The deciding factor between this case ending in a felony or misdemeanor charge is whether Mohamed drove recklessly or was just negligent. To prove the felony charge, the court needed to determine that the driver was driving recklessly. According to a report about the state laws of Ohio:
“…the law uses the terminology “operation in willful and wanton disregard” to define reckless driving. The term encompasses any vehicle operation that disregards the safety of other individuals or property. Individuals can include drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
Willful and Wanton are legal terms of art. Willful conduct implies an act done intentionally, designedly, knowingly, or purposely, without justifiable excuse. There must be evidence that the defendant intentionally did something, in the management of his or her automobile, with knowledge that injury to another or to the property of another was probable.
Conversely, a wanton act is an act done in reckless disregard of the rights of others, which evinces a reckless indifference of the consequences to the life, limb, health, reputation, or property of others.Wanton misconduct is a total absence of care and involves positive, perverse action.”
The difference between reckless and negligence was tied to the fact that the accident that occurred on June 2, 2016, was not her first single-car accident. Four days before the crash she was arrested for, this same driver had a similar accident. Both accidents involved only her car and both times she left the road. At the time of both accidents, she was not a legal driver.
After the first accident where Mohamed left the road as she veered into a barrier, it should have been clear she was not able to safely operate a motor vehicle. She was also not licensed to drive. Instead of taking the first accident as a sign she was not ready to drive on her own, Mohamed four days later again was behind the wheel.
For a second time, this untrained driver left the road. This time sadly she ended up hitting two pedestrians, a mailbox, three front yards and eventually a house. During court testimony, witnesses described the vehicle as being out of control and never slowing down as it continued to hit both people and property. The only thing that stopped the car was the house it hit.
There was no reason for Mohamed to be driving the day of the accident. She had no legal right to drive and already knew from the earlier accident her driving was not up to par. In the end, a small boy paid the ultimate price for the driver not seeming to care about driver safety. Micah Ferebee was riding in a stroller being pushed by his dad Kenan M. Ferebee when the pair crossed paths with Mohamed.
Instead of hitting a median when she lost control of her car, Mohamed hit the father and son. Micah died from a head injury and Kenan, for the most part, suffered very few physical injuries. Mohamed on the road that day showed a total lack of care regarding the safety of others.
At the time of both accidents, Mohamed was only carrying a learner’s permit. By law, she should have also had a licensed driver in the car with her, but she failed to do that in both instances. She was an untrained driver in the car alone.
When the judge looked at the car crash that killed Micah, there were some concerns that the court may not have enough evidence to prove recklessness. This quickly changed as the court also considered the fact that the driver had for a second time wrecked a car while driving illegally. As a court report outlined,”…not one of those single things amounts to recklessness….but when you look at the totality of the circumstances, the court does rule that it does amount to reckless conduct.”