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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Mohammed Akkas Ali, critically injured on Wed., June 19, when a drag-racing driver hopped the curb and roared into his East Village flower stand, reportedly has come out of his coma.
East Village activist Bill Weinberg posted on Facebook that he stopped by the store early Monday morning and received some encouraging news.
“Just dropped by East Village Farm Grocery and they told me that Akkas Ali has opened his eyes for the first time since the ‘accident,’” Weinberg wrote. “[They said] he didn’t talk, but I’ll take what I can get. Thank you, Akkas. We are rooting for you.”
On Tuesday evening, Shaifu Sumon, who works the night shift at the store, told The Villager, that it’s true, Akkas Ali had opened his eyes for the first time “three or four days ago.” However, he added, “But he doesn’t speak.”
Last Thursday afternoon, Manan Sath, who works days at the store, told The Villager that one of the grocery’s injured workers had recently been able to leave the hospital, but was only able to walk with the help of crutches.
The force of the speeding car, which was reportedly flying at 80 miles per hour, uprooted a fire hydrant and threw it across Fourth St. to the south side of the street.
A Muni-Meter was also torn out of the pavement by the speeding car, and a tree was also felled. Bikes chained up to poles were left mangled.
In total, three of the store’s employees were hurt when the white Nissan Altima driven by Sean Martin, 32, flew up onto the curb.
As for Akkas Ali, 62, the most severely injured of the three, Sath just said his condition was “critical.” Sath said he personally hadn’t been able to visit Akkas Ali at Beth Israel because he was too busy running the store.
However, he said, “All my family members, they have been going every single day” to visit him.
Meanwhile, an emergency fund set up to help Akkas Ali, who has a wife and three sons, had 235 donations as of early Monday morning.
The fund was set up by Chad Marlow, a Community Board 3 member. Marlow knows firsthand the pain caused by such an accident, since his own father was critically injured by a drunk driver and never fully recovered, devastating Marlow’s entire family.
Akkas Ali’s having been in a coma is similar to what Marlow’s father endured.
“My dad was in a coma for quite awhile,” he said, “so I think that is not necessarily a bad sign as much as it is a sign of the severity of his injuries.”
The C.B. 3 member is also spearheading an initiative for an East Village / Tompkins Square Slow Zone that would implement measures to slow car traffic to create safer streets.
Local blog EV Grieve recently reported that the fund for Akkas Ali had raised close to $12,000 from exactly 200 donors, according to Marlow.
The fundraiser ends on July 20 and Marlow hopes to raise a total of $100,000.
To contribute to the emergency fund, go to www.giveforward.com/akkasali .