Dad killed by drunk driver in NC had escaped Ukraine for a better life
‘They came here to escape death’: Father-of-two is ‘killed by drunk driver’ after he fled Ukraine with his family once Russia invaded
A father-of-two killed while loading cars in North Carolina had fled the war in Ukraine for a better life. Yurii Vakhniak (pictured bottom left), 40, was working for his car transportation business, Anastasia Services Inc., when he was fatally struck along US 70 in Johnston County on March 13 by repeat DWI offender, Seydina Ndiaye, 26.
Vakhniak moved to Illinois with his wife Ivanka, and children, Anastasia and Vova, after escaping the Ukraine-Russia conflict that started last February. He was on his way to Tennessee to make a car delivery when he was hit outside of his three-car hauler.
‘These guys work day and night to provide for their family, grow a business and achieve the American dream,’ friend Alex Boom (pictured) told WNCT. ‘They didn’t come here to die, they came here to escape death.’
Bloom described Vakhniak as a ‘fluffy, friendly teddy bear’ who sacrificed a lot for those he loved. ‘He was a good guy who gave everything he had to his friends and his family,’ Bloom said. Vakhniak named his company after his daughter, but wasn’t in the US long enough to ‘realize his American dream,’ a GoFundMe dedicated to Vakhniak read.
‘Like many of our Eastern European brothers and sisters, he found work in the transportation industry,’ fundraiser organizer Alexander Katsman, wrote. ‘He began working as a car hauler so that he could provide for his family and to grow in this country.’
Katsman continued: ‘Because Yurii was growing his business and investing in it, he didn’t leave money behind for this tragic event.’ The money raised will go toward transporting Vakhinak’s body to Ukraine for burial and to his wife. As of Sunday afternoon, $28,199 had been raised.
Meanwhile, his alleged killer is behind bars as his extensive driving violations were revealed. Ndiaye (pictured) was arrested on Monday for allegedly hitting Vakhniak. Records showed he was driving illegally on a revoked license and faced three previous DWI charges with the latest reported last year, according to the news outlet.
He appears to be familiar with North Carolina and has often been cited on various other charges, including driving with a revoked license and speeding, in Raleigh and Clayton. Vakhniak’s grieving family is wondering why Ndiaye was allowed to roam freely without repercussions. ‘We were all kind of shocked that this person is still on the streets. We want to make sure that he doesn’t kill another one of our friends,’ Bloom told the news outlet.
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