Monday, December 23, 2013
Felony charges dropped for woman who ran over sister
Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
One of the last things that Redah Raza remembers about the accident that left her severely injured is jumping onto the hood of the vehicle her sister was driving.
The 20-year-old college student testified Wednesday about the events that took place as her older sister backed out of the driveway.
“She didn’t know you were going to jump on the car?” said defense attorney Michael Parlow, who represents Redah’s sister, Anum Raza, 24, also of Bensalem.
“Of course not,” Redah Raza replied, adding that the sisters “perfectly get along.”
Bensalem District Judge Joseph Falcone said the younger Raza’s testimony played a part in his decision to dismiss two felony aggravated assault charges against Anum, who is free after posting 10 percent of her $250,000 bail. He held her for trial on misdemeanor charges of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
“I do believe that it was foolhardy for her to jump on the hood of the car, and it was foolhardy for her to drive with her sister on the hood,” Falcone said. “I find it hard to believe this young lady wanted to kill her sister that day.”
But Bucks County prosecutor Matt Hoover argued that the evidence showed that Anum Raza’s actions against her sister on Aug. 22 were intentional, suggesting she held “bottled rage” against her.
Hoover said that Raza kept driving after her sister jumped on the hood of her Honda minivan, traveling nearly 500 feet at 30 mph before finally stopping. She also drove over her sister after she fell off the hood when the vehicle suddenly stopped.
“All (evidence) points to one thing, that this was intentional conduct,” Hoover said. “Once she was on the hood of the car, all decisions made by the driver are intentional.”
Bensalem police allege that Anum Raza, who has no prior criminal record, ran over her sister after an argument that began when Redah asked for a ride to the Neshaminy Mall. Anum refused because she was on her way to work and needed her sister to babysit, police said.
The sisters live with Anum’s husband, their son and the women’s parents in the 2800 block of Carter Road in Bensalem.
Police alleged that Redah had jumped on the hood in an attempt to stop her sister. But Anum kept driving before she braked about five or six houses down Carter Road and her sister fell off the car.
After Redah fell, Anum tried to put the van in park so she could get out and check on her sister, but accidentally stepped on the gas pedal and drove over her, police said.
The accident left Redah with life-threatening injuries. She was hospitalized for two months, unable to work for another month. She continues to receive occupational therapy twice a week.
On the witness stand, Redah Raza testified that she and her sister were “joking” just before she jumped on the hood of her sister’s car as it backed out of their driveway.
“I was just messing around,” she testified, adding she doesn’t remember much about the accident.
After the accident, Redah testified that she remembers hearing her sister calling her name, telling her that help was coming. “I know she said, ‘I’m here. You’re going to be fine, you’re going to be fine,’ ” Redah said, adding she also heard what sounded like a gearshift grinding.
While Redah admitted that she and her sister sometimes argue, she said they’ve never had a physical confrontation.
She added that while hospitalized she made a video telling the judge she wanted to see her older sister, who was initially barred from contact as part of her bail conditions.