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Dubai mother of hit-and-run victim, 4, urges motorists to curb dangerous driving

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A mother who lost her four-year-old son in a Boxing Day tragedy caused by a motorist speeding the wrong way down a one-way street in Dubai has urged drivers to slow down and abide by the rules of the road.

Golrokh Salehi was crossing a service road in Umm Suqeim on December 26, 2020, with her sons Kian Moborak, aged five, and Ashkan, the aged four, when her eldest child – a “perfect ray of sunshine” - was struck by a speeding Land Cruiser.

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Kian, who was walking a short distance ahead of his mother and brother, was thrown at force to the ground, suffering a skull fracture. He died of his injuries four days later.

Salehi, who has just marked the first anniversary of her son’s death, told the driver, aged 22 at the time of the accident, served just one month in jail.

Recalling the last moments of her eldest son’s life, Salehi, an Iranian-American expatriate, said she had taken her boys to a flooring store in Dubai and was leaving the shop when Kian walked a short distance ahead of her.

“I was holding my youngest son’s hand, Kian went ahead he always wanted to [be] the first in his car seat,” she told Al Arabia English. “Of course, he knew how to cross a street safely – he has learnt from me and from school. But it was one-way, and he thought the road was clear.”

However, the Land Cruiser was going against the traffic and struck Kian, a pupil at Dubai British School in the Springs.

“He was driving so fast,” recalled Salehi. “I just saw my son fall to the floor. I started screaming and screaming. My youngest son couldn’t understand what was going on, but he started crying too.”

In her shock, Salehi said the driver emerged from his vehicle shouting at her.

“He was saying, ‘why weren’t you holding your son?’.”

The driver, she said, was also holding his mobile phone in his left hand.

Salehi said the police and ambulance service arrived in minutes.

“Kian was unconscious. He just had small spots of blood under his nose. But that was it.

“But deep down I knew he was going to go. I thought that when the car hit him and I saw how he was thrown. The speed was too much.”

Kian was taken to Dubai’s Saudi German Hospital and placed in intensive care. A CT scan shown Kian had suffered a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain.

While he underwent surgery, doctors told Salehi that her son had showed limited cognitive ability afterwards and he would likely not survive more than a handful of days.

He lost his fight on December 30, 2020.

Salehi said she had wanted to donate his organs, however Kian’s body had suffered “too much trauma.”

“Nothing was useful anymore. Everything had basically stopped working. They were no good.”

More than a year on, after lengthy grief counselling, Salehi is still struggling to come to terms with her son’s death.

“Every day I will suffer from losing my healthy son. I feel for any parent for any condition losing a child. It’s the worst thing anyone could experience.

“He was my sunshine. Even in his short life he was sunshine, not just for me as his mum, but for so many people. He was nice, he was kind, he was a very happy guy.”

Salehi said she has shared her story to encourage drivers to be more mindful on the roads.

The driver who struck her son was found guilty of manslaughter at Dubai Criminal Court on January 13.

Sentenced to a month in jail, he was also ordered to pay a $4,083 (AED 15,000) fine and $54,450 (AED 200,000) in blood money to the family. His license was suspended.

Dubai Public Prosecution appealed against the verdict and pushed for a stronger sentence to be imposed. The appeal was later rejected.

“I know for sure that the driver never intended to kill my son,” said Salehi. However, she believes stricter penalties would act a deterrent to other dangerous drivers on the road.

“I have been living here for decades. Everything is improving and improving and getting better than they used to be – but driving still remians a problem

“My son is just one example. My life has been damaged forever.”

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