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Students killed while crossing road

BY VICTORIA EDWARDS AND EMILY KRAACK
Daily Staff Reporters
Published November 10, 2003

Two women were hit by a pickup truck last night and died after
arriving at the University Hospital.

Ann Arbor Police Department Sgt. Brad Hill said the women were
crossing Plymouth Road at 6:20 p.m., apparently on their way home
from the Islamic Center of Ann Arbor after breaking their Ramadan
fast for the day.

The AAPD has not released the names of the women, but members of
the campus Muslim community say the women are Norhananim Zainol and
Teh Nanni Roshema Roslan, two Engineering students. The girls were
both international students and members of the Malaysian Students
Association.

Hill said AAPD interviewed the pickup driver and took him to an
AAPD station, though he was not arrested. The department is still
investigating the situation.

Nazih Hassan, president of the Islamic Center of Ann Arbor, said
that, according to surveillance cameras outside the mosque, both
students died on impact at the scene. He blames the deaths of the
girls on the dangerous traffic conditions in front of the
mosque.

“This should not have happened — it was absolutely
preventable. This is a high-traffic area and there is a school
here, and every night hundreds of people come (to the mosque) and
there is no traffic light. We see people driving very fast down
this street,” Hassan said.

“This was an issue that was brought up before the city
officials but there was no positive response to the request to have
a light here. It is very unfortunate that it had to happen to wake
up city officials,” he added.

Roslan’s suitemate, Farah Nazihah Faisal, a Muslim
Malaysian and Engineering junior who was friends with both girls,
said poor lighting on the street and the absence of a pedestrian
crossing have made the walk to the mosque dangerous.

“There are safety issues with going to the mosque at
night. They should put in a traffic light or a pedestrian crossing.
There is a mile walk from one traffic light to the next. This is a
busy street where there is a hill, so cars can’t always see
pedestrians crossing the road,” Faisal said.

Faisal added that the dangerous traffic conditions are a risk
not only for the Muslim community, but also for people who live in
Willow Tree Apartments, which are located on Plymouth Road.

Faisal said that although the deaths were tragic, especially
because they could have been prevented, she feels better about the
situation knowing that it occurred during Ramadan.

“It’s a good thing they passed away during Ramadan.
It’s a holy month and they just came back from praying.
It’s a good way to go, I think,” Faisal said.

Faisal said that she had been at the mosque with both girls
before the accident, and in general that the three of them had been
inseparable.

“All three of us were best friends. We go everywhere
together, I guess. Both of them were really smart. If I wanted to
remember just one thing about both of them, it would be they were
both loyal. You could just tell them anything and they
wouldn’t judge (you),” she added.

She said she is still in shock about the accident, and that the
atmosphere is somber among the victims’ close friends.

Two informal Islamic prayer services were held last night at 10
p.m. at Vera Baits Houses on North Campus. One service was held by
the men, the other by the women. About 20 Malaysian Muslim students
of each sex attended the separate services.

The U.S. Embassy in Malaysia will send representatives to the
families’ houses to inform members of the deaths. The
official funeral date in Ann Arbor has not been announced yet.