Child's health deteriorates after car accident 5 years ago
A man apologizes five years later for severely injuring a toddler in a car accident in 2009.
Stewart Richardson crashed into a sedan in Arlington, Texas in Feb. 20, 2009, injuring Abdallah Khader, a toddler who was strapped in the sedan.
Now five years later, Abdallah's health is deteriorating, while he sit motionless, strapped to his specialized chair and his lungs failing him. The crash left the toddler brain-dead and now needing oxygen to fill his lungs.
"The last year, my son's health has been declining really fast," said Loubna Khader, Abdallah's mother. "Originally they said five years, so this year — when he started getting sick — my heart started pounding."
Richardson has yet to face trial after all these years.
Richardson, 49 years-old, now sits in a warehouse converted into a jail cell in north of Fort Worth, still thinking about the toddler.
"I love the little guy," Richardson said. "I don't know him; I talk to him two or three times a day in my prayers."
Richardson's blood alcohol test level reached three times the legal limit on that night in 2009.
Richardson said he wants to get the case over with, and that he's been waiting for a chance to send a message to Abdallah's parents.
"If there's any way to tell them I'm very, very sorry. I'm so very sorry," he said in an exclusive interview in jail. "I've got drawings I've done for them ... the little boy."
The case was delayed in an usual legal limbo, due to the prosecutors wanting to use DWI-related charges from four other states to maximize Richardson punishment that could lead up to 20-year prison sentence.
The case has been delayed in an unusual legal limbo. Prosecutors want to use prior DWI-related charges from four other states to enhance punishment. They want Richardson off the streets for good — up to life in prison instead of a maximum 20-year sentence.
Appeals in the court considered the legal request that Richardson remains in jail. Richardson has spent more than 1, days behind bars, longer than any inmates that has waited in Tarrant County, Texas for trial.
Richardson said someone slipped a picture of Abdallah into his cell years ago.
"The picture that was in the paper; I still have it to this day, and I try to keep it very close to me," he said. "Even on my bad days — which is often — I still pray for him first before anyone else."
Richardson said he has read the Bible cover-to-cover at least 15 times in the last five years.
Abdallah's family are Muslim-American, and have been consulting Muslim scholars if permissible for them to deny life support if their son's body fails completely. Abdallah has been rushed to intensive care for at least four times in the last year.
"They said the next step is to put him on life support, and that is something we have decided not to put him on," said Loubna Khader, child's mother.
"It's going to be hard, but no. We have decided not to do that," said Fahad Khader, the child's father.
The Abdallah family say that they are willing to wait to try to get receive the maximum punishment for Richardson.
"We are very upset and frustrated with this guy, but we are waiting for justice," said Fahad Khader.
The Khaders want to tell Richardson how much pain he has caused for Abdallah's family.
"I really don't know when I see the guy how I'm going to react," Fahad Khader said. "I'm going to be very mad."
Source: USA Today "5 years later, DWI suspect apologizes for crash". Staff, February 20, 2014