Witness describes hit-and-run death

She choked back tears as she described incident

CALGARY — A woman who witnessed the hit-and-run death of a Calgary gas station worker in 2015 choked back tears Tuesday as she described the incident.

Joshua Cody Mitchell, 22, is on trial facing several charges including second-degree murder in an incident at a Centex gas station in June 2015.

Maryam Rashidi, who was 35, was trying to stop the driver from leaving without paying for $113 worth of gas and had climbed up on the hood of the truck.

Sherri White Vernon told court she heard screaming and the quick acceleration of a vehicle before she saw Rashidi on the hood, desperately trying to get a grip with her feet.

“Her hands were on the hood of the truck where the wipers come down,” said Vernon as she choked back tears.

“She’s hanging on and I keep thinking he’s got to stop. I remember her looking up and looking at the driver. The truck makes this really abrupt, right-hand turn like you see something on the highway and you don’t want to hit it.

“Her leg got caught in the wheel rim of the truck and it just pulled her down real quick … She couldn’t hold onto the hood anymore. It pulled her under the truck and kept going.”

Gerry Parcells told court his vehicle was cut off by the truck. He saw Rashidi climb up on the hood and said she was holding on to a bug deflector. He said she wasn’t able to hold on once the vehicle swerved and she fell to the ground.

“At that point, he just drove over her,” said Parcells.

“I’m pretty sure she was under the front and under the back tires. She was kind of under the truck and rolling when I seen her.”

Rashidi died in hospital a few days later.

Rashidi and her husband, Ahmed Mourani Shallo, had emigrated from Iran a year earlier. Both got engineering jobs in Calgary, but when the Alberta economy started to decline, they were laid off.

Rashidi took a job at a Centex station and had only been working there for a couple of weeks.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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