Skip to content

Lewiston’s Somali community mourns deaths in Sabattus crash

Storyline:Security, World


Two people are dead, and three others hurt, after a horrific crash in Sabattus. Authorities say it happened when an SUV crashed head-on into a parked delivery truck.

Witnesses jumped in to rescue those trapped in the vehicle. The crash happened early Monday morning on Route 126 in Sabattus, just outside a gas station.

Investigators say it’s still too early to understand what exactly led up to the crash, but witnesses say the car never seemed to put on the breaks after it left the roadway, before hitting the delivery truck head-on.

Shawn Ridlon says it was just before 6 a.m. when he heard what sounded like an explosion.

“We didn’t really fathom what it was when it first happened,” Ridlon said. “We saw all the beer coming out, and the Budwiser guy was just bleeding real bad, he got thrown down to the ground. I asked him what happened, he didn’t know. We just heard a loud bang.

Police say speed may have played a role, as the SUV careened off the road.

“When he started looking around, the van was off to the side and the whole family was stuck inside, so they yelled at me to get a fire extinguisher because the motor was catching fire,” Ridlon said.

There were four people inside and another man cut out the airbags and did what they could.

“Yeah, we got the passenger woman out, but the rest, they were kind of pinned in there and it was too late,” Ridlon said.

Police say the driver, 60-year-old Wabah Sahal Salat, and one of the passengers, 48-year-old Shariffa Shale Ali, died on the scene.

“The people were very nice people, my customers,” Somali community member Shukri Abashukri said. “I am very sad, they have small children, they have a wife, I am very sad.” The victims in the SUV were members of Lewiston’s Somali Community.