, based on the media’s description of a terrible taxi cab accident in front of a San Diego nightclub in which 35 people were injured, and based on the cab driver’s Muslim name, Sam Hassan Daly, I
that the accident was a case of sudden jihad syndrome. That appears not to be the case. It appears that the cab driver, an Egyptian doctor and immigrant who legally changed his name from Ossama Hassan El-Darandaly a few years ago, fell asleep behind the wheel. Also, according to media reports, he has expressed great remorse over the incident. However, I would keep an eye on this case to see if anything else emerges. It’s just a tad too pat that an Egyptian cab driver caused this much mayhem by pure accident at the very moment when America’s attention was fixated on events in Egypt.
Also, it is reported that doctors have saved the leg of the woman whose leg had been initially reported as severed in the accident
The attorney for six of the victims in Saturday’s crash outside Stingaree said evidence shows the cab driver had fallen asleep moments before the accident.
San Diego attorney Ashkan King Aminpour, who said he represents six of the accident victims, says his private investigator spoke with first responders, the men and women who were the first to see Sam Hassan Daly, 52, in the moments after the accident.
“He seemed to be in a state of surprise. His eyes were a little bit glassy, as if he fell asleep at the wheel. As if he was extremely fatigued,” said attorney Aminpour.
Aminpour said he has collected clear evidence that Daly had fallen asleep before the crash.
Daly, pictured above, was the man behind the wheel of the Emerald cab that jumped a curb in the Gaslamp Saturday morning and ran into a crowd exiting Stingaree, according to San Diego police. The image, taken from Daly’s cab license, was released by San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday.
Daly is an Egyptian immigrant who worked as a doctor in his native country before taking a job driving a cab in San Diego.
Court documents indicate Daly has lived in San Diego for at least seven years and that his given name is “Ossama Hassan El-Darandaly.” He changed his name to Sam Hassan Daly sometime since 2005.
Daly’s roommate, Dan Rose, told us Hassan has been having financial and personal problems.
“Just very irregular behavior, kind of up and down, a little bit recluse, depressed type of behavior,” said Rose.
The cab driver owns a house in Clairemont, but told his roommate that the bank is foreclosing on the property. Documents obtained by NBC San Diego reveal Daly filed for bankruptcy four years ago.
Rose said Daly sent what money he could back to his family in Egypt.
“He didn’t make a lot of money and what he did make, he’d send back to his family in Egypt, his brothers and sisters,” said Rose.
Daly has five traffic violations and was charged with misdemeanor battery. Prosecutors later dismissed that case.
It was just before 2 a.m. Saturday when Daly drove his cab into the crowd of nightclub patrons, injuring 35 people, according to witnesses. One of the injured, an Encinitas woman who was pinned against the wall, suffered a severely mangled leg.
Dominique Gambale, 45, and her husband were out on the town as an early Valentine’s Day celebration. Gambale is being treated at UC San Diego Medical Center where doctors have been able to reattach the leg and are “cautiously optimistic” about her recovery.
“My care has been exceptional, and I have been amazed at the level of skill and comprehensive efforts provided by the trauma and orthopedic surgery team,” said Gambale in a statement released Monday.
According to San Diego police investigators, there is no evidence that Daly broke any serious criminal laws.
In the moments after the accident, the crowd outside Stingaree attacked Daly. One witness said Daly was still sitting in the car when he got to the scene and that’s when the crowd started to remove him from the car.
“They beat the s—t of out him,” the man said. “Beat him up really bad.”
“Daly sustained a fractured nose during the incident. It is not known at this time if Daly’s injuries occurred from the collision or the post-collision disturbance,” said Lt. O’Hanlon.
Other fights broke out among the patrons as some people tried to reach their friends and were held back, according to Maurice Luque, a spokesperson for San Diego Fire and Rescue.
Both firefighters and police officers described the situation as a “melee.”
It’s still a mystery as to why the cab lost control, according to police. Police say there is no evidence that Daly had been drinking, or broke any serious traffic laws.
“It was not a high speed collision at all. By high speed I’m talking 50, 40 miles an hour. It was not that. But again, the detectives are reconstructing the accident,” said Lt. O’Hanlon.
Daly has not been arrested. His friend said Daly is very conscientious about his work and very responsible.
“You know mostly he do everything for himself. A family man who want to help his family, who work hard and have a lot of family to support,” said cab driver George Abraham.
Records show the cab is registered to Makmar Enterprises, which is managed by Fata Arghand who runs several taxi-related businesses from an office on Kurtz Street, near the Sports Arena.
Arghand leased the cab to Daly, identified as an Egyptian immigrant, who was a doctor in his native country.
Taxi-drivers are licensed by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and the industry is regulated by the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS.)
MTS told NBC San Diego there are no violations or complaints on record against either the taxi owner or the driver.
Police say their investigation could take weeks because there are so many witnesses to interview.