Tesfaye Ailbe didn’t feel right when he let his 18-year-old daughter Hannah Wadiso go out with her friends for the night following her high school graduation.
The family had just finished celebrating her graduation, but Hannah wanted to go out with her friends, and her father relented.
“Around 7 p.m., she said she wanted to go and watch the car race on O Street. ‘Everybody‘s watching,’ she said,” recalls Hannah’s father.
Tesfaye was nervous.
“My heart didn’t settle down,” he said.
Wadiso was so concerned he tried to follow Hannah and her friends, but he couldn’t find them. Deciding that he was being overprotective he drove home.
Two hours later, Tesfaye got a phone call.
“I got this number. You don’t know me, but your daughter is in an accident and in bad shape, please reach her now,” the stranger said.
Wadiso rushed out of the house and found the crash where police told him he wasn’t allowed to go any further and that his daughter Hannah had passed away.
“They said you cannot get through, you cannot see her, touch her, this is under investigation,” Tesfaye recalled.
“On the road, we cried, fell down on our knees, prayed,” the dad explained.
A few hours later, he received a phone from the local hospital that Hannah was alive but in critical condition.
“She is in emergency, Bryan West, critical condition. The car ran over them and some people around them lifted the car up,” Ailbe said.
“Amen, hallelujah, thank you, Jesus, this is a chance,” Hannah’s father replied.
Hannah’s pelvis was crushed, but she is on her way to recovery. Unfortunately, the two other women she was with did not survive.
The 18-year-old man driving the Taurus was arrested after two people died and 20 were injured.
A couple of days after the incident, Lincoln, Nebraska, Police Chief Teresa Ewins addressed the confusion:
“We want to share with you some information I was just made aware of yesterday afternoon regarding the devastating Memorial Day weekend crash here in Lincoln that has since been reported on by the media.
While evaluating our response to the fatal crash that occurred at 52nd and ‘O’ Street on Sunday, May 29th we discovered a devastating miscommunication with a family member at the scene. The family member, Tesfaye, was called to the scene by a bystander who told him his daughter, Hannah, was hit by a vehicle. When Mr. Alibe arrived, he ran to one of the cars involved in the crash, pointed to one of the deceased, and told the officers it was his daughter. The officers, who had just been performing life-saving measures, confirmed she had not survived.
Mr. Alibe stayed on scene with officers and as additional information was gathered on his daughter it was determined she was not one of the young women killed in the vehicle. Hannah was one of the bystanders injured in the crash and had been taken to the hospital where she was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
We recognize the grief this tragic misunderstanding caused for all involved. We continue to work with Mr. Alibe and have acknowledged our sincere regret. We are grateful to report Hannah’s condition is improving and hope for the continued improvement of the 19 additional victims.”