SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Friends of a former Afghan interpreter are rallying to his family's side after the father of three died from a traffic accident this weekend.
After working as an interpreter with US forces in Afghanistan, Hassib Naimi applied for and received a Special Immigrant Visa. He and his family arrived in San Diego in 2015.
"Emotionally they are so excited,” said Shafiqullah Jalili, Naimi’s close friend.
Jalili, who worked for the resettlement agency that helped Naimi's family, eventually became a close friend. He remembers his friend's optimism.
“He was relieved, because they moved out from the danger zone. His family was in danger … He knew this was an opportunity land,” said Jalili.
Naimi, who lived in City Heights, took auto mechanic courses and had been working at a repair shop, and driving for Uber and Lyft on weekends.
This summer, after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Naimi applied for special visas for his other relatives still Afghanistan, at risk because of their link to him. He was still awaiting word, when tragedy struck Saturday night.
Jalili says his friend was in his Toyota Prius around 7:30 p.m., driving a friend on the I-15 near the I-8, when his car crashed and rolled over.
“I was kind of in trauma … It just made me so emotional,” said Jalili.
Naimi was rushed to a hospital, where he died two days later.
“It’s kind of losing someone that you love,” said Jalili, choking back tears.
Naimi leaves behind a pregnant wife and three children, ages 3, 5 and 7. Jalili says many from refugee groups, local mosques and other community groups have rallied in support of Naimi's family.
“At the hospital, the whole front of hospital was full of people,” said Jalili.
Jalili started a Gofundme campaign to help his family.
“To provide support, that the family should not feel they are by themselves. We will be here for them,” said Jalili.
Naimi's friend suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover.
The CHP has yet to release a cause of the crash.