Franklin Medical Center gastroenterologist Dr. Ghassan Al-Sabbagh left scene after striking pedestrian in Raleigh, police say.
by David Leone, Associate Editor
RALEIGH — A Louisburg doctor has been charged with felony hit-and-run for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident which left one woman dead.
Ghassan Al-Sabbagh, 55, 5300 Antebellum Road, Raleigh, was arrested by Raleigh police Thursday at the Novant Health Franklin Medical Center (FMC) in Louisburg.
Al-Sabbagh has privileges to practice at the hospital as a doctor of gastroenterology, but is not an employee of FMC and practices at other area hospitals, according to Kathryn Knight, Novant Health Public Relations Specialist. His privileges with FMC date back to July 2000.
Just before 7 a.m. March 20, Cornelia Olero Amissah, 64, of Raleigh was struck by two northbound vehicles while walking across Capital Boulevard at Trawick Road. She was outside the designated crosswalk and against the pedestrian crosswalk signal, according to a report filed by Raleigh Police Officer P.G. Manukas.
She was first hit by a 2006 Mercedes Benz driven by Mitzi Latrice Veal of Raleigh, and thrown to the ground. She was then struck by a light colored vehicle, which fled the scene.
Police have identified the vehicle as a 2010 Lexus belonging to Al-Sabbagh. Damage to the Lexus is estimated at $1,000. Damage to the Mercedes is $2,000.
Veal had the right-of-way and has not been charged. But it’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident — a felony if it involves a person’s death.
On Thursday, officers assigned to the Raleigh Police Department’s Crash Reconstruction Unit coordinated a traffic checkpoint in the northbound lanes of the 2900 block of Capital Boulevard, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a release.
The checkpoint was one element of the officers’ efforts to identify the second vehicle involved in the March 20 pedestrian fatality that occurred in that area.
During the brief checkpoint, a Lexus sedan that passed through drew the attention of the CRU officers. Follow-up investigation of that car led ultimately to obtaining an arrest warrant for Al-Sabbagh.
Al-Sabbagh was scheduled to make his first court appearance today.
Al-Sabbagh and media contacts at Franklin Regional Medical Center could not be immediately reached for comment.
A crowd-funding fundraiser is being held online to help pay for $15,000 in burial expenses of the victim, whom is identified by her children as Cornelia Olero Ogogo. According to the website her funeral is scheduled for this Saturday, April 12, in her native land of Kenya.
To view the website, see gofundme.com/7v3sy0.
4/4 4:30 update: Story updated to clarify Al-Sabbagh has privileges at Novant Health Franklin Regional Medical Center but is not employed by FMC.