By Nargis Rahman
A joint funeral was held Tuesday night at Masjidun-Nur Mosque for three young Hamtramck men who died in a car accident early Monday morning near Niagara Falls.
An estimated 2,000-2,500 packed the Caniff Ave. mosque, and the area outside in the parking lot, for prayers.
A little after midnight, on Sunday going into Monday, Richard Hildebrand, 87, of New York, had been driving his SUV eight miles the wrong way on I-190 before he smashed into the Toyota Camry the Hamtramck men were travelling in, instantly killing Shofiul Alom, 20, and 21-year-olds Rezwan Chowdhury and Nazim Khan.
The driver, Burhanur Rahman, 22, and Hildebrand are in critical condition at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.
Police said it appeared one or both of the cars tried to dodge the other. At least two drivers called state police to report Hildebrand was driving the wrong way. Authorities believe Hildebrand, a regular driver, was confused during his eight-mile drive. Investigators have yet to release details of why he was driving so late by himself.
The four Hamtramck men left Saturday morning for a trip to Niagara Falls, and were headed to Buffalo to a mosque before the accident. Families said at least three of them purchased matching white T-shirts to wear during the trip.
The families retrieved the bodies of the three deceased men Tuesday afternoon. They said the young men appeared in a peaceful slumber. Burial services proceeded Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. for Alom and Khan, and at 5 p.m. for Chowdhury at the Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.
Nazmul Hassan, chairman of the Bangladeshi American Democratic Caucus in Michigan, said he was heartbroken by the news in a mass e-mail to Bangladeshi-Americans Tuesday morning.
“I ask our community people to keep the departed ones and the families who lost their loved ones in their prayers,” said Hassan.
Chowdhury worked as a cashier at Bonoful Sweets & Cafe for the past year. Khan worked at NYX in Livonia for the past seven months, according to a co-worker.
Alom came from Bangladesh over a week ago to visit his father, Shahjan Miah, who is on life support from an unrelated car accident.
Community members have visited the families upon hearing the news. The young men’s families have requested supplications on behalf of the young men.