LONG BEACH, Calif. - “The entire family was just wiped out... It’s just tough to swallow,” said CSULB Professor James Schrage He’s having a difficult time dealing with the loss of his former student.
Schrage first met Raihan Dakhil whom he called “Ray”, back in 2016 when she entered the Master’s Degree Program. He says right away, he saw something special in her.
“You knew this was a person who was really engaged in the work, who was doing the work for the right reasons because social work is a difficult career path,” Schrage said.
Dakhil had just graduated in May, with a Master’s Degree in social work. Schrage says he and others at the university are having a difficult time dealing with her loss.
“I feel a little bit personally robbed because she wasn’t able to fully do the things she wanted to do in her professional career or in her personal life,” Schrage said.
The 32-year-old along with her husband Joseph Awaida and their 3-year-old son Omar were walking home on Halloween after a night of Trick-or-Treating when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver who slammed into them on the sidewalk near Los Cerritos Park. All three died within days of the crash.
Carlos Cedillo worked for Joseph Awaida at the family’s auto repair shop in Long Beach.
“We are still in shock we expect him to walk into the shop and say hey good morning Carlos. He always said good morning with a smile,” said Cedillo.
Police arrested the driver, 20-year-old Carlo Navarro and booked him on multiple felony charges. He posted the $100,000 bail and was released.
Meanwhile, the community continues to mourn the loss of this vibrant and happy family. Schrage says he will remember Ray for her professional contributions but also for the love she had for her family especially her son Omar.
“She was a passionate mother and she was committed to this little boy Omar and it’s just devastating to know this entire family has been wiped out,” Schrage said.
The suspect Navarro was booked on three felony counts including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Meanwhile, this community remains devastated by the loss of this young and much-loved family.