Family killed in Arlington crash was observing Ramadan

Posted Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Najib Intidam and his wife, Hanane, prayed Tuesday in the hours leading to midnight before heading to a grocery store to buy food before sunrise.

Intidam’s family was observing Ramandan — a month during the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslims don’t drink or eat from dawn to sunset. But the family’s trip ended in tragedy early Wednesday during a three-vehicle wreck that resulted in their deaths.

Friends and relatives are mourning this week the family headed by Intidam, who dreamed of making a better life in the United States after leaving Morocco in 2005.

Manal Belkhoumani, a second cousin of Intidam, said family members are finding comfort in the notion that Intidam, 40, and his family are “in a better place.”

Intidam, his 27-year-old wife and baby Noor were killed early Wednesday in a three-vehicle wreck on Interstate 30 between Eastchase Parkway and Fielder Road, police said.

Benjamon Ray Stewart, 41, of Arlington, tried to flee the scene but was captured and arrested. He faces three charges of intoxication manslaughter and one charge of failure to stop and render aid, police said.

Stewart had a previous DWI conviction in Arlington in 2002, records show. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail and fined $741.

Stewart remained in the Arlington Jail on Thursday.

Burial will be Friday

Belkhoumani said Intidam’s family had been praying at a mosque at 1700 S. Center Street in Arlington. They were going to a nearby Walmart to buy groceries when the crash occurred.

On Thursday, Intidam and his family’s bodies were being prepared for a burial set to take place Friday. The family will be buried at an Islamic cemetery in Joshua, Belkhoumani said.

Friends and family are also trying to raise money to help pay for the funeral costs.

Intidam was popular and well-known in the community, Belkhoumani said. He had been working as a car mechanic in Dallas’ Oak Cliff area. He moved to the United States in 2005 and tried to visit his native country once a year, Belkhoumani said.

“He was outgoing,” she said, adding that his wife was shy and sweet. “Together they complimented each other greatly.”

The baby was going to turn a year old on Aug. 6, Belkhoumani said.

His wife and daughter had recently joined Intidam in Arlington and he had been proudly introducing them into the community, she said.

Intidam was driven by the American dream that lures immigrants to this country, Belkhoumani said. He wanted to work and prosper here and was working to bring his daughter a good education.

Intidam had recently been trying to help his wife go back to college.

Early morning crash

The wreck was reported about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday in eastbound lanes of Interstate 30 between Eastchase Parkway and Fielder Road, police said.

The Intidams were in a car that was rear-ended by a pickup, said Sgt. Christopher Cook, a police spokesman. The pickup was driven by Stewart.

The car spun and stopped in the middle of the highway where it was hit by a another pickup pulling a landscaping trailer, Cook said. The passenger car came “to rest on the inside shoulder,” Cook said in a news release.

Two people in the second truck were not injured.

Stewart tried to drive away in his truck but “abandoned it a short distance from the wreck scene and fled on foot into a wooded area,” Cook said. Stewart was found with the help of firefighters who used thermal imaging equipment to find him, Cook said.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1 Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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