MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s been two years since a USA medical student was killed in a crash on the I-65 service road in Mobile.
Two weeks ago, the Mobile neurosurgeon charged in that crash asked a Mobile County judge for more freedoms under his bond. Friday, nearly two years after the crash, the judge ruled in favor of half of Jonathan Nakhla’s request to modify his bond.
The judge ruled in favor, allowing Nakhla to travel from Mobile to his father’s home in Daphne to work. The judge denied his request to travel to Fort Morgan to take care of his rental property.
Samantha’s family said while they may not agree with the judge’s decision, they support his ruling and trust the process. As her family marks two years without Samantha, they are taking the time to honor her memory by helping future doctors.
Two years after Samantha was killed, her family is still coping with her death.
“We still have the process of trying to learn to live with it. It doesn’t go away,” said Harold Thomas, Samantha’s father.
Samantha was a third-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine when she was killed in a crash on the I-65 service road near Airport Boulevard in Mobile.
“Not a day goes by without us thinking about her. I would say there are still lots of tears,” said Christiana Hoff, Samantha’s stepmother.
Nakhla is charged with murder. Prosecutors said he was drunk and driving at speeds over 130 miles per hour when he crashed his car shortly after midnight on August 1, 2020, on the west I-65 service road that night. Samantha was a passenger in the car.
“Two years ago some choices were made with some serious consequences, which affected everyone. It’s a little rough,” said Thomas.
Samantha would have been the first physician in the family. Her family was extremely proud of her achievements. Her white doctor’s coat hangs in their office, constant reminders of what could have been.
“We’re missing a piece of life. There’s a piece of the puzzle that will not be found again,” said her parents.
Earlier this year Thomas and Hoff were awarded Samantha’s medical degree during what would have been her graduation from medical school.
Her family is continuing to honor her legacy, by helping future doctors attending the University of South Alabama. They created a scholarship in her name last year, and hope to grow that fund as they hit another year without her.
“We want to promote USA’s scholarship in Samantha Allison Thomas’s name. That’s one of the big things I’ll be doing today,” said Hoff.
You can donate to the scholarship here.