Witness screamed at attendant to leave truck

Maryam Rashidi, 35, killed while trying to stop a driver from leaving the Centex gas station

CALGARY — A witness testifying in the hit-and-run death of a gas station worker says she screamed at the woman to get away from a fleeing truck because she feared it was a “dangerous situation.”

Maryam Rashidi, 35, was killed while trying to stop a driver from leaving the Centex gas station in Calgary who failed to pay for $113 worth of gas in June 2015.

“I was trying to get the woman’s attention,” Angela Reece testified Monday at the second-degree murder trial of Joshua Cody Mitchell.

“I was screaming at her, ‘Come back here. I’ve got his licence number… get away from that truck.’”

Reece, who had been gassing up her own vehicle, said Rashidi didn’t respond.

“I turned, I anticipated a bad outcome. I was screaming and I heard a sound like a branch cracking,” Reece said. “It was an awful sound.”

Crown prosecutor Jonathan Hak told the jury in his opening remarks that Rashidi suffered devastating injuries.

“You will hear that there was no saving her. Brain death set in and after she was formally pronounced dead her organs were elected for donation.”

Hak said Rashidi had only been on the job for a few weeks but was already proving to be a dedicated employee.

“Unbeknownst to her it was to be her last shift. That day, the defendant would come to her gas station and steal fuel. In his quest to get away, the defendant would cause her devastating injuries that would result in her death.”

The jury heard Rashidi chased the truck across a parking lot and onto the Trans-Canada Highway where the vehicle got stuck in traffic. She banged on the passenger window to try to get the driver to pay, then stood in front of the vehicle with her hands up.

“She was trying to right a wrong,” said Hak, who said Rashidi climbed up on the front bumper and was holding onto the hood.

“Once she was up on the front bumper holding onto the hood, the defendant jerked the truck forward to try and get her off,” he said.

“He swerved the truck to the side trying to get her off the truck. Unable to hold on any longer, Maryam Rashidi fell forward onto the road in front of the truck. At that point, the defendant accelerated hard over her body, running her over with the right front wheel and the right side duallies.”

The manager of Centex said Rashidi was “very, very good” with customers. Shamsuddin Laiwalla said all employees received extensive training, including on what to do in a gas and dash.

“We tell them not to run behind the vehicle, just stay calm,” he said.

Laiwalla said employees are not expected to pay for thefts.

Rashidi and her husband, Ahmed Mourani Shallo, emigrated from Iran in 2014. Both got engineering jobs in Calgary, but when the Alberta economy started to decline, they were laid off.

The Crown is expected to call 25 witnesses.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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