Blind Berkeley man fatally hit by car in crosswalk

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Five times a day, friends say Mithaq Salem walked from his home in Berkeley to a nearby mosque just over the border in Oakland to pray the five daily Islamic prayers.

After a day of fasting, that's what Salem, who was legally blind, was doing Thursday night when he was hit by a car and killed.

Those who know Salem describe him as a devout family man who lost his sight, but never abandoned his faith.

"He was a humble man and big family support," said one of Salem's friends.

The 47-year-old Salem was killed, as he was leaving the Oakland Mosque he visited several times a day for the daily prayers.

The accident happened just after 6 p.m. Thursday night, as the father of five was walking across Market Street and 62nd in white clothing and carrying his white cane.

Police describe Salem as being in an unmarked crosswalk. The driver of the SUV that hit Salem did stop and police say she is cooperating.

Friday morning, Salem's many friends and immediate family gathered at the Oakland Islamic Center for a prayer service and to prepare his body for burial.

"I worked with him, a long time ago when he had his vision and definitely he was loved by everybody in the community," said Salem's friend Yassine Ouassif.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the accident to contact investigation.
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