Australia Latest News

Distracted mother crashes into school killing two 8-year-old boys sitting in their classroom

By Mason White 7:06 AM November 9, 2017
Jihad Darwiche (L) and Andrew Encias

A mother said she is deeply sorry over the deadly car crash she caused while she was distracted.

52-year-old Maha Al-Shennag from Australia, dropped off her son to his Arabic class at 9:45 a.m. before the crash occurred.

As Al-Shennag, a widowed mother of 4 children, began driving away from the school’s parking lot, she dropped a water bottle.

Police believe that as she was leaning over to pick up the water bottle, she accidentally pressed on the accelerator of her Toyota Kluger SUV.

She plowed through the wall and stopped inside a classroom at the Banksia Road Primary School in Sydney.

Neighbors who heard the commotion ran to the school, where they helped free children from underneath the car.

24 children were in the classroom with their teacher. Many students and the teacher were treated at the scene.

Two boys were taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital, where they died of their injuries. The boys were identified as Andrew Encias and Jihad Darwiche.

A 9-year-old girl in a serious condition and two 8-year-old girls are recovering at the hospital, where they are said to be in a stable condition.

The female driver was not injured but she was taken to Bankstown Hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests after the crash.

Police said that this is a case of a tragic accident.

Al-Shennag was arrested and charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and causing actual bodily harm by misconduct. Her licence was also suspended.

Al-Shennag’s attorney Nick Hanna released a statement, saying that her client “is deeply sorry for the loss and hurt suffered by the children, the school, the families and the community.”

The father of Jihad Darwiche released an emotional Facebook video as he was riding in the hearse with his son’s casket behind him.

He spoke in Arabic and the driver, a family member, translated what he said.

The father Ahmad Hraichie said that the family forgives the driver as this was the will of the creator.

The father added that people should not retaliate against the school as this was not their fault, or against the driver.

He also said that the family is willing to sit down with Al-Shennag over a meal and discuss how to move forward.