Sonoma state graduate student dies in car crash

Sonoma State graduate student  Mo’Tasem Haddad, 24, was found dead on the scene following a car accident in the early morning of Oct. 19. The crash occurred at 1:10 a.m., at the intersection of Rohnert Park Expressway and Country Club Drive, where his car was split down the middle after hitting a light pole.

“The death of any student at Sonoma State University is deeply felt by the Seawolf community,” said Paul Gullixson, Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications. “This is a real tragedy, and we all extend our condolences to Haddad’s family and friends.”

According to The Press Democrat, Haddad was driving an Audi eastbound on the expressway at high speeds when he ran a red light, colliding with a Lexus turning left in the Audi’s path to get to southbound on Country Club Drive. Haddad’s Audi was then split in half after hitting a light pole. Haddad apparently tried swerving out of the way to avoid the Lexus but was struck and thrown off course. 

According to Rohnert Park Public Safety, the accident is still under investigation into whether drinking was involved or if it was reckless driving.  

Mario Haddad, one of Mo’Tasem Haddad’s cousins, said Mo’Tasem was born in Zarqa, Jordan, where his family lives, and came to the U.S. in hopes of gaining a better life. He graduated from Zarqa Private University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. 

Shortly after graduation, he realized he wanted to further his education in the U.S. 

In 2017, he was accepted to Sonoma State. He was enrolled this fall semester and was taking an advanced english course to continue earning a master’s in marketing, according to his cousin Mario Haddad. 

While living in the U.S., Mo’Tasem was also went by Tim. 

Izzac Rabadi, a relative of Haddad, said, “He struggled to work for better life five thousand miles away from home in a brand new country. He was away from his family, his mother, father, sisters, brothers just to find his way in life. He was a wonderful, compassionate man.” 

He said Haddad was a hard-working man with a strong work ethic. Although being away from his family was something he struggled with, explained Rabadi, he was so driven it did not stop him from wanting to achieve his goals. 

Members of Haddad’s family described him as loving a good time, being up for any spontaneous adventure, and constantly trying new things. He was the type of person who could always make you smile with his contagious laugh.  

“He was more of a brother to me,” Mario Haddad said. “He was definitely not a boring character either, he was outgoing, eager to learn, and always had a memorable time doing life.”

There have been multiple accidents in Rohnert Park since the start of the fall semester. Over twelve DUI related incidents occured since the end of August with most within the last month. Other accidents have been due to reckless driving. 

Haddad’s family would like students  to remember him by his charismatic personality and to not take life for granted. They ask you keep him and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.