Delivery driver hit and killed girl, 5, then delivered takeout, inquest hears

A delivery driver in the United Kindom killed a five-year-old little girl and continued on his mission to drop off a takeout meal, an inquest has recently heard.

On April 1, Istvan Zarka was in the middle of fulfilling a customer’s order when he hit Minaal Salam as she was crossing the road on her way home from an after-school club in Stoke-On-Trent, according to a report by ITV News.

She was carried on the bonnet of the Volkswagen Touran for approximately 10 feet before the vehicle stopped.

When the young girl’s father pleaded with the perpetrator to call an ambulance, the 63-year-old told him “No, go away” before fleeing the scene to go and deliver a takeout meal requested by a customer. He did, however, return after he was done and refused to give any further comments to officers who were already at the scene by then.

Salam suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead just 40 minutes later when the paramedics arrived.

An inquest heard the heartbroken father’s recollection of the events as the victim’s mother questioned officers about their handling of the case.

PC Matthew Brailsford said: “Abdus [Salam’s father] stood at the side of the road and looked both ways four or five times. Minaal took one step out in the road. A car came down the road. He only saw it coming when it was one foot away.

“Minaal fell forward onto the bonnet. It carried her for about 10 feet before it stopped. He put the car seat down. He held her in his arms. He said to the driver: ‘You hit my daughter, can you please help me and call an ambulance?’ The driver said ‘No, go away’ and drove off down the road.”

“Abdus gave CPR and shouted for help,” the officer continued, before adding: “He said it was 20 minutes before anyone came and 20 minutes later before the ambulance came.”

An investigation into the incident concluded that the collision was “unavoidable” while assistant coroner Emma Serrano, described it as “tragic”.

“She passed away as the result of an accident. A tragic accident, but nevertheless, it’s an accident.”

Salam’s mother proceeded to ask PC Brailsford if they were sure that the driver was paying attention, stating: “I am sorry to say but there are loopholes. You say you don’t know but I think you had the right to cross-question the witness or ask more questions like I have.”

Sergeant Ben Foster then told the inquest: “At the point the pedestrian stepped off the kerbside the collision was unavoidable. It’s my opinion that the driver had insufficient time to avoid the collision and was still in the reaction period.”

Zarka was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving without business insurance, but the charge relating to him failing to stop at the scene was later dropped.

It was also concluded that the driver was adhering to the speed limit at the time of the incident.

In the wake of the accident, the grieving mother paid tribute to her daughter. “There is not a single moment where I don’t miss her. She was very loving,” she said.

“She would help me with the groceries, and help me with the cooking. She loved cooking. She wanted me to pass all my recipes to her when she grew up. She wanted to be a doctor like her dad. She loved her sister and was very proud that she had a baby sister.”

She added that the loss of her little girl is “painful” and has turned her “bitter.”

“It’s very painful. I am not the same person anymore. I am bitter. I don’t think I am kind because I feel like there’s no good in the world because that happened to me. She was just a child.

“I have lots of memories. She was a lovely girl. She was pretty like a princess. She was a clean girl – the little one is very messy. She was a very helpful and caring person. I miss her, and I love her. It’s really hard to live and do anything without her.

“…I will always love her.”

Our thoughts are with the victim’s family during this difficult time.


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