“I’M LOOKING OVER MY SHOULDER EVERY TIME A CAR DRIVES PAST ME. I’M WORRIED IT WILL SWERVE OFF AND HIT ME”
VERNON - Three people who say they were attacked by a teenager driving a BMW still have no idea why it happened.
It was the middle of the day on Feb. 10 and the trio — a 29-year-old man, his 23-year-old girlfriend, and their 35-year-old friend — were walking down the sidewalk on 27 Avenue in Vernon. After the bizarre altercation, the woman ended up in the hospital with serious injuries, and her boyfriend, identified by police as Thomas Ritchie, wound up with several assault charges.
The 35-year-old R.B., who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, says two teens on the other side of the street were ‘acting tough.’ R.B. and his friends kept walking, and the teens pulled up behind them in a nice-looking BMW.
“They had the window rolled down and the passenger said ‘what’s up.’ We looked at each other and said ‘not much.’ That’s when they immediately reversed quickly, aimed the car at us, stopped for a second. We all started moving away so they could park — none of us knew who these kids were…. They started coming towards us for a half second at a slow speed, and then all of a sudden they floored it.”
He and Ritchie rolled off the hood of the car, but the woman flew off the front, landed on the ground and got pinned beneath the vehicle.
“The tires were on top of her and they were backing up to run over her again. The wheels were right on top of her, she was screaming. I still hear it when I go to sleep at night,” R.B. says. “That’s when (Ritchie) smashed the window and tried to turn the car to make them stop. Everything he did was a reaction to stop the guy from killing his girlfriend.”
After breaking the window, he says Ritchie punched the driver and grabbed the steering wheel, ultimately forcing the vehicle to get stuck on a rock wall.
“When the guy got out of the car he said ‘let’s go, ditch the car, the cops are coming.’ Obviously they had something to hide.”
The 18-year-old driver and 17-year-old passenger fled the scene. Police later arrested Abd'l-Malik Loubissi-Morris, 18, for assault with a weapon, as well as dangerous operation of a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance — heroin according to court documents.
The woman was rushed to hospital for treatment, and despite being ‘pretty banged up’ according to R.B., amazingly didn’t break a bone. Her boyfriend, Ritchie, was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon for allegedly stabbing Loubissi-Morris.
“It needs to be known he was doing the best he could to stop these people from running over his girlfriend. If it wasn’t for that she would be dead,” R.B. says. “He saved his girlfriend’s life, and he probably saved my life.”
A week later, R.B. is still afraid for his safety and baffled by what happened.
“How do I know one day when I’m walking to work he won’t point me out to one of his friends and I’ll get stabbed? I just don’t know. I don’t have any answers. I don’t know why this happened,” he says. “I’m looking over my shoulder every time a car drives past me. I’m worried it’ll swerve off and hit me.”
Little is known about Loubissi-Morris. He has no prior adult court record, and our efforts to contact him have so far been unsuccessful. When contacted at a listed address, someone who answered said his name was familiar, but that he wasn’t there at the moment.
Police continue to investigate. Loubissi-Morris is due back in court at the end of February and Ritchie at the beginning of March.
After initially agreeing to an interview, the woman and her boyfriend declined speaking with iNFOnews.ca due in part to dealing with ICBC, finding lawyers, going to doctor’s appointments, and how Ritchie has already been portrayed in the media. In an email, the woman said they stand by the information provided by R.B.
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