Fatal Crash Prompts New Traffic Safety Program


A new push for safety on the roads following a crash that killed six family members in Upper Arlington.

The tragedy inspired a woman to team up with police to educate drivers.

It all centers around the language barrier that people from other countries may face when moving to the United States.

A class, normally offered free-of-charge to help break down that barrier, is now taking a new direction.

Fadia Ismaiel, an immigrant from Syria, is one of hundreds taking time to learn the English language.

She tells 10TV she feels a personal connection to the family who lost their lives in October.

"It's terrible. I go there every week to check that family, you know. The little one, he's not being five years old. He has no father, no mother, oh my god. It's really hard," said Ismaiel.

She encourages people in the class to embrace the lessons taught by police about traffic safety.

"It's important that we all work together to keep each other safe," said Hilliard Police Officer Hyda Slone.

This class is the first of its kind for the program. The reason is personal for its creator.

"The officer is my neighbor, so I think it did hit home a little harder than another news story that you see," said Upper Arlington resident Michele Kurfees.

From the moment Kurfees heard of the crash involving an Upper Arlington officer and the car, with an Iraqi family inside, she felt something had to be done.

"As the report said, the car had run a red light and was sitting in an intersection. To me that just spoke loudly that there is a misunderstanding as to what the traffic safety laws are, especially in regards to emergency vehicles," said Kurfees.

She feels the class will be the first step to help bridge that gap.

"So, I feel that we have an obligation to help them and make it work for them and put them in the safest possible situation they can be," said Kurfees.

The founder of the group putting on this class, "Serving Our Neighbors Ministries," says the class, in general, is a direct way to fight poverty.

Now, with the new twist, she says it's a great way to turn something tragic into something that has positive effect.