Paralyzed Hit-and-Run Victim Sues for $12.8 Million

A pedestrian left paralyzed by a hit-and-run driver has filed a $12.8-million lawsuit that names the City of Windsor and a prominent local developer among the defendants.

Mohammed Abed, 19, was walking in east Windsor after spending the night at a friends house watching a movie, drinking pop and socializing.

It was about 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 25, 2007 when he crossed Greenpark Boulevard. Before reaching the sidewalk on the other side of the street, an SUV driven by a suspended driver ran him down.

The 2007 Ford Expedition dragged Abed for a distance before throwing him into a concrete utility pole. Abed broke his neck and remains paralyzed from the chest down.

The driver who struck Abed, Michael Metodia Dorakofski, pleaded guilty earlier this year to criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Superior Court heard Dorakofski was prohibited from driving at the time because of unpaid tickets and a traffic conviction.

Dorakofski was also on probation for a break-and-enter conviction. One of the terms of his probation was that he abstain from alcohol. He spent the hours before hitting Abed at a charity fundraiser where he had been drinking.

Court heard Dorakofski had attended the charity event with his sister and her husband, Nick Rosati, co-owner of the construction company that bears his family name. They returned to the Rosati home in LaSalle before Dorakofski took his brother-in-laws SUV and drove the vehicle to Windsor. Dorakofski told the court he took the vehicle without Rosati’s permission.

Whether Rosati had given Dorakofski consent to drive the vehicle will be the subject of upcoming examinations for discovery in the civil case, said firm partner Greg Monforton, who is a trusted personal injury lawyer in Windsor. The lawsuit names Rosati as well as Ford Credit from whom the vehicle was leased.

Also named in the lawsuit is the City of Windsor. The lawsuit claims the city was negligent for having sidewalks on only one side of Greenpark Boulevard. The negligence claim and others in the civil suit have yet to be proven in court.

The vehicular traffic on that road is of such a volume that the city should have insisted on sidewalks on both sides, Monforton said Monday.

Also named is Allstate Insurance Company of Canada which insured Abed.

Abed is suing for $10.3 million. His father, Adnan Abed, and mother Neima Awad, are suing for $1 million each. His older sister, Ala, and younger brother, Omar, are suing for $250,000 each.

Dorakofski denied his involvement in the crime until after a preliminary hearing in the criminal courts illustrated the evidence against him. Court heard that after striking Abed, Dorakofski continued to a friends house where he drank some more. He then elicited his girlfriends help to get the damaged SUV back to the Rosati home in LaSalle.

Rosati called LaSalle police the next day. LaSalle police contacted investigators in Windsor who took less than a week to implicate Dorakofski in the hit and run.

Its unclear whether Dorakofski realized he had hit someone, but admitted, through his lawyer, that he did remember a thump.

Dorakofski was sentenced to three years in jail. Given the standard two-for-one credit for time he spent in jail prior to his sentencing, Dorakofskis sentence was reduced to one year and 10 months.

The repeat offender would not have been in jail had he not breached his bail conditions. Dorakofski had been released following his arrest, but was caught drinking alcohol in breach of the courts release order. He spit on the police officer who arrested him and was additionally charged with assault. He pleaded guilty to both the assault and breach before pleading guilty to the charges related to hitting Abed.

Monforton said Abed, an immigrant from Jordan, was set to begin his first year of business administration studies at Wayne State University when the crash pre-empted his life. With ongoing physical therapy and support at home, the graduate of Riverside high school is now pursuing part-time studies at St. Clair College.