Haifa Abubaker

Bike accident under investigation

David McGuire of Austin Fire Department cleans blood off of Guadalupe street following an accident involving a CCI Manufacturing Company truck and a cyclist Monday afternoon.
David McGuire of Austin Fire Department cleans blood off of Guadalupe street following an accident involving a CCI Manufacturing Company truck and a cyclist Monday afternoon.

An accident in the 2500 block of Guadalupe Street near the intersection with Dean Keeton Street on Monday left a bicyclist with serious injuries.

The UT nutrition freshman, Haifa Abubaker, collided with a truck around 3 p.m. Her leg was amputated at Brackenridge Hospital after the accident, where officials said she is recovering.

Detective Ron Phillips, who was not at the scene of the accident, said the cause of the collision is unknown, but the cyclist may not have stopped at a red light.

“We don’t know if she stopped, it appears she was just riding her bike,” Phillips said. “I think she was just shooting straight across.”

The Daily Texan is continuing to investigate this incident and the people who provided first aid.

Updated on Friday, July 1, 2011 at 3:09 p.m. Added victim's name and injuries.

Eagle Scout and former serviceman Patrick Clemens provided first aid to freshman Haifa Abubaker who was in a bike accident at Dean Keaton and Guadelupe last Wednesday. By using his belt as a tourniquet he was able to stabilize her until paramedics arrived.

Photo Credit: Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff

A Boy Scout troop leader and former U.S. Army soldier likely saved the life of a UT student involved in a bicycle accident at the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets on the afternoon of June 27.

Patrick Clemens used his belt as a tourniquet to wrap the leg of nutrition freshman Haifa Abubaker after she and a CCI Manufacturing cement truck collided. Clemens’ training as a sergeant in the Army and as an Eagle Scout prepared him for the situation.

“There had to be 20 people out there and nobody was helping, nobody would touch her,” Clemens said.

When he heard the crash from the inside of the Jack in the Box where he was servicing the soda machine as a Coca-Cola technician, he turned to see Abubaker in the street after she was dragged 40 feet.

“It was in that moment that I truly felt called, and I heard a voice say ‘you can do this,’” Clemens said.

He then rushed to help Abubaker, who might have bled out otherwise.

“I had to keep pressure on the belt the entire time,” Clemens said. “I put her in the ambulance and she held my hands, and she didn’t want to let go. I told her I’d find her. After it was over I collapsed.”

Clemens said the afternoon of the accident and days following have been the most spiritual experience of his life. He has remained in close contact with the Abubakers and visited the hospital every day. He said the family, who lives in Pearland, near Houston, and is of Ethiopian decent, has “adopted” him. The family declined to comment on the incident.
She had her right leg amputated below the knee and is in fair condition, according to the University Medical Center Brackenridge.

The Austin Police Department considers the collision an accident and will not file criminal charges, said Austin Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Anthony Hipolito. It is unknown if Abubaker will press civil charges against the truck driver or CCI Management.

“It’s a tragedy, and we’re investigating it,” said Fred Coogan, an attorney representing the Abubaker family. “There are questions with regard to the accuracy of the police report.”

Arpeggio Grill, a restaurant near the intersection, has surveillance footage that owner Nasser Trosich said could be helpful in the different parties’ ongoing investigations. Trosich and his daughter Cassandra reviewed the blurry video on June 28 but are now having trouble accessing the file.

According to Nasser and Cassandra Trosich, the footage may contradict reports from APD officials who told The Daily Texan and other news organizations they believe Abubaker may have run a red light on her bicycle while the truck had a green light.

“All you see is a bike rolling and you see a huge concrete truck,” Cassandra Trosich said of the footage. “At 3:02 she’s going North bound on the edge of the street. He was going straight.”

Representatives from CCI Manufacturing did not return calls for comment.

In 2009, there were two collisions involving motor vehicles and bikes at the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets, according to APD. This is the first such incident since then.

“I just hope that the cyclists and the mopeds and the motorcycles look twice,” Clemens said. “Be safe. Look around, especially when there’s so many pedestrians and construction going on.”

Abubaker was planning to run a marathon this week. Instead, she is beginning to move her leg again, Clemens said. The troop leader trembled and tried to hold back tears as he recalled promising Abubaker that one day, the two would run a marathon together.

Printed on 07/07/2011 as: Former soldier rescues injured student

Firemen and police officers survey the aftermath of the collision of a bicyclist and a cement truck on June 27.

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

A collision between a student and a cement truck left nutrition freshman Haifa Abubaker with serious injuries.

The crash occurred on Guadalupe Street near the intersection of Dean Keeton Street on June 27.

After the crash, she was quickly taken to Brackenridge Hospital and is now out of the Intensive Care Unit and recovering with her family at the hospital after having a length of one of her legs amputated.

Denis O’Donnell, a former UT liberal arts student and the day manager at Hole in the Wall, was on the scene after the collision and said his friend shouted when the incident happened within view of the bar’s front window.

“It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen,” O’Donnell said. “We saw her in the street, and she was conscious and yelling.”

Running back into the bar to get ice and towels, he returned as the Austin Fire Department was arriving on the scene and then told him to stand back, he said.

“It was pretty incredible,” said O’Donnell, who thought they might have already been in the area and arrived at the scene in close to a minute, then collected her and took her away immediately. “It was like, miraculous fast.”

A serviceman who was at Jack in the Box applied his former military training in an act that police and fire department sources say likely saved the 19-year-old’s life when he used his belt as a tourniquet on her bleeding leg.

“He just ran over there ­— ran directly to her. He had something in his hand, I couldn’t tell what it was but he was trying to help her — I assumed it was a tourniquet,” said Harry Thompson, a morning shift server at Kerby Lane Cafe.

Thompson was just getting off his shift at the restaurant when he saw her swept under the front tire of the vehicle and dragged. He thought she might have tried to swerve to avoid the truck and lost balance.

The cement truck was travelling northbound on Guadalupe before it collided with Abubaker. Some sources say she was riding her bike on Guadalupe, while others say she was walking it down the street.

Detective Ron Phillips, who was not at the scene of the accident, said the cause of the collision is unknown, but he thinks the cyclist may not have stopped at a red light.

“We don’t know if she stopped, it appears she was just riding her bike,” Phillips said. “I think she was just shooting straight across.”

Tom Wald, executive director of the Austin League of Bicycling Voters, said major accidents should remind bikers and drivers about the importance of road safety.

“Studies have shown that the fault in the collision is generally mixed — in some cases it’s the motorists and in others it’s the cyclist,” Wald said.

Wald recommends that bikers on a roadway take responsibility for their own visibility as well as being aware of their surroundings.

“There is a matter of fault and there is a matter of taking precautions,” Wald said. “As a cyclist, I think it’s important to go beyond just the legal minimum — having a front and rear light, for example, and selecting your route and that your position on the roadway is visible for motorists.”

Motorists should also take care to observe all foot and bike traffic, he said.

“As a motorist, you want to be attentive to other motorists and to people that are bicyclists and pedestrians, and you can’t take for granted that the roadway is going to be clear,” Wald said.

A representative of Abubaker’s family declined to comment with The Daily Texan.

Updated on 6/6/2011 at 12:55 PM: Cement truck direction traveling northbound.