DENVER — A family of refugees is struggling with the loss of a breadwinner.
Zakaria Guisse, 30, was involved in what police called a minor three vehicle crash on I-25 near 20th Street last Thursday. While getting out to check on the other drivers, he was apparently hit by two other vehicles. One of them never stopped.
"Right now, I don't know how he died or who killed him," said Zakaria Guisse's father, Samba Guisse.
The elder Guisse came to the U.S. in 1999 as a refugee from Mauritania by way of Senegal. He sent money back to his family and, eventually, saved enough to have Zakaria Guisse brought to America.
Zakaria Guisse followed in his father's footsteps, sending part of his paycheck to family members in Mauritania. He was also helping to take care of his sister, who has cancer.
"On the day the accident happened, she was supposed to go in for surgery, and she had to cancel it," said Ousman Ba, of the African Leadership Group. "She's been battling it for nearly a year now."
"Zakariah was everything to me," Mariam Gacko said through an interpreter. "That was our son. When I was in Africa, he would send me money."
Gacko said she hadn't seen her son for ten years until he saved enough money to bring her to the U.S.
"That's the sad part about this," Ba said. "His mom literally came about three weeks ago. They'd been apart for ten years. He'd been working so hard to bring her here and only got to spend a couple weeks with her."
Ba started a GoFundMe account in hopes of raising enough money to send Zakaria Guisse's remains back to Mauritania.
Samba Guisse said it's important that his son be buried back home.
"Because he has a lot of family who want to see him for the last time," he said.
Sarin Kong, one of the drivers suspected of hitting Zakaria, is facing nine different counts, ranging from careless driving to driving without a license, driving under revocation and driving under the influence.
Kong is scheduled to appear in Denver County Court for a plea disposition at 11 a.m. Friday.
The victim's parents said they are grateful police have made one arrest and are hopeful police find the other driver.