Hit-and-run leaves local woman in a coma
By Samer Hijazi | Friday, 04.27.2012, 06:15 AM

Community searching for answers
Achkar (left) is still fighting for her life at Oakwood Hospital’s intensive care unit; her friend Nancy Faraj (right) suffered bruises.
DEARBORN HEIGHTS — A hit-and-run altercation that left one Dearborn Heights woman critically injured on Wednesday April 18 at an apartment complex on Garling Dr off of Warren Ave has been the center of shock and controversy in the local community, as different versions of the story have now become widespread amongst local residents, while family and friends pray for the recovery of the young woman.
According to the  Dearborn Heights police report, Hanan Achkar, 23, was involved in a physical altercation with Natalie Hassan, 23, who had run her down with her 2001 Chevy Malibu. The two women had crossed paths at a local business minutes earlier where foul words were exchanged and then concluded their altercation in front of the apartment complex where Hassan had resided. Achkar was on her way to visit her friend Nancy Faraj, 27, who also resided in the same complex. Faraj was also involved in the altercation which took place around 8 p.m. that evening. 
From that point forward, the story starts to differ depending on the source. According to the police report, which relied heavily on Faraj’s account, Faraj ran out of her apartment to aid her friend Achkar while she was fighting with Hassan in the parking lot. After the fight had been broken apart by two males, Faraj claims that Hassan quickly got into her vehicle and threatened to kill them as she was revving up her engine. 
According to Faraj, the two females were hit by Hassan’s vehicle twice, the first time being a slightly lighter hit. But during the second hit, Faraj says Hassan came at them full speed resulting in Achkar's legs and upper torso going under the vehicle. Faraj stated that she was pinned between two cars herself and suffered both leg and back injuries as well.
Suspect Natalie Hassan, 23, is being held in the city of Dearborn Heights on a $250,000 bond.
But another witness speaking to us a week later tells a slightly different story. Wishing to remain anonymous for personal reasons, the witness stated that the altercation occurred right in front of his apartment while he was waiting for a male friend to come over (The witness claims he has known Hassan, Achkar and Faraj for years). According to the witness, he and his friend saw Achkar pulling up in her vehicle behind Hassan and blocking her off from one side. Achkar was accompanied by another unidentified female. All females stepped out of their cars and began engaging in a physical altercation with each other. Faraj came running down the street from her apartment with another unidentified female friend to try and help Achkar and her friend. 
The witness states that there were four females total that were fighting against Hassan.  The witness and his friend were finally able to break the fight apart after several minutes. He also stated that Hassan got into her car but was unable to escape because the four females were surrounding the vehicle, with Achkar and Faraj facing the front of Hassan’s car. That is when Hassan pressed on her gas pedal and hit both females with the hood of her car. The witness claims Achkar's legs and mid section had been pulled under the hood. When Hassan proceeded to back up, Achkar’s legs were still stuck under the vehicle. The force of the car had swept Achkar even further under, slamming her body into the ground and hitting her head harshly onto the cement.
Hassan fled the scene before the Dearborn Heights Police had arrived. But according to the witness, she wasn’t the only one that did so. Two of the females involved in the altercation that were friends of Achkar and Faraj had also fled the scene, leaving Achkar unconscious while the two male witnesses and Faraj were waiting for the police to arrive. 
“I ran inside and brought water to pour it on her head, but she was still unconscious. I noticed all the blood coming out from under her head,” the witness stated. 
According to the police report, Achkar was unconscious but breathing and had a noticeable head wound when paramedics arrived on the scene. She was immediately transported to Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn and has since been in the intensive care unit.
One week after the incident, blood stains caused from Achkar’s head injury are still apparent in the parking spot of 7401 Garling. Neighbors say that after the incident they washed down the parking spot.
PHOTO: Fatima Ibrahim/TAAN 
The police report also says, “Faraj stated there were ongoing incidents between her and Hassan because Hassan was upset that she was friends with her ex-husband.” Faraj would later deny this was the reason for the altercation in messages posted on a Facebook group.  After speaking with police, Faraj was transported to Garden City Hospital for her leg injuries. 
After learning Hassan’s name, the Dearborn Heights Police had gotten a hold of her family. Hassan eventually turned herself in when she surrendered at her mothers house later that night. She was immediately arrested and charged for assault with attempt to murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. A bond was also set for $250,000. This wasn’t the first time Hassan had been in trouble with the law. A mother to a one-year-old daughter, Hassan has also been convicted of drug possession and theft in the past. 
Faraj went on to tell her story to WXYZ Channel 7, where she described her version of the incident that had occurred. She declined to comment to The Arab American News and instead stated that everything was already in the WXYZ report.
The Dearborn Area Community Members Page on Facebook has also been keeping tabs on the story, with local Facebook users offering their prayers and also bringing up concerns regarding the incident. But it’s not all civil, as finger pointing and name calling have also been a huge part of the discussions, with many not sure what to make of the story and the different rumors spreading around.
“I’m disgusted by our community lately. I pray for better days. The truth will come out and we will know what happened. One thing I did notice after watching the news I must say is something sounds fishy,” said Facebook user Ranna Kassem. 
Achkar’s family is asking for prayers from the community as Hanan continues to fight for her life. Since last week’s altercation her condition has not gotten any better. She has remained in a coma and part of her skull has been removed to prevent swelling. On Monday, a prayer service was held at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn where Achkar’s family and friends had attended, still in shock about the recent events.
“We are trying to be as strong as possible,” Maha, her sister stated. “Everyone has their own version of the story, but with the prayers coming through we hope she’ll get to tell her side.”
Maha stated that her sister’s condition was being monitored hour by hour and that no one was able to see her. The family decided to focus on praying for Hanan’s recovery rather than discussing details of the altercation. Still this left many of her close friends wondering how something this tragic could occur.
“All we want to know is why she was left in her blood while her friends fled the scene,” stated Lina Fawaz, a friend who attended the mosque to pray for Achkar’s recovery.
One of Achkar’s close friends, Hala Dika, had flown in from Miami immediately after hearing the news of Achkar’s altercation to be at the hospital with the family.
“Hanan is a wonderful person and a wonderful soul. She always goes out of her way to help people,” Dika stated. “She is the type of person that will do anything for her friends... she did not deserve this.” 
Hassan’s next court date will reportedly take place on Wednesday, May 2nd at 9 a.m. at the Dearborn Heights court. 

By Samer Hijazi

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