Family of 7 still struggling after father's death in rideshare crash

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- For rideshare drivers, there are risks on the road. The family of a Concord Uber driver is still struggling after a horrific accident involving a wrong-way took his life.

RELATED: Father of 7 killed by suspected wrong-way driver on Highway 101 in San Francisco

Sadat Barakzi is missing his best friend, Waheed Etimad.

"A lot of people are praying for us, " said Barakzi.

The 40-year-old father of seven children immigrated to California four years ago from Afghanistan, where he worked as a translator for US Troops.

During that time, he was shot and wounded by the Taliban.

"In a sense, he's an American hero. He served the American people well," Barakzi added.

RELATED: Building A Better Bay Area: Rideshare realities

Etimad settled in Concord and started driving for Uber. But on February 3rd, he was killed on the job in a horrific head-on crash on Highway 101 in San Francisco, caused by a wrong-way driver.

"My mom remembers my dad every single day, she cries for him, " said Waheed's son Yahya Etimad.

Yahya, 14, is stepping up to help his younger siblings. There's been an outpouring of support from the Muslim community, a GoFundMe account has raised $327,000 to help move the family out of their small apartment and buy them a house.

California requires rideshare companies to carry a $1-million liability policy for drivers and passengers during trips. Uber offers additional "driver injury protection" at a cost of about four cents-per-mile, offering survivor benefits for family members up to $150,000 if you are killed. But It's unclear if Waheed Etimad was enrolled.

"I did contact Uber, they have been in contact with us," Barakzi added.

Uber sent ABC7 this statement:

"This was a horribly tragic incident and our hearts continue to be with the driver's grieving family. We have been in touch with the family and will work with authorities to assist their investigation in any way we can."

Transportation advocate Philip Macafee founded RideShareJustice.org where the pics of killed or injured drivers are posted, many who can't pay their medical bills.

"I think this is the most hurtful aspect of the gig economy, to put people out in this risky business, and not make sure they have some protection like everyone else in the workplace," said Macafee.

Macafee is advocating for better protections, like workman's compensation for rideshare drivers.
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