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Published: Friday, 6/27/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

OTTAWA HILLS MAN GUILTY IN AUGUST CRASH

Physician loses driver’s license for year in death

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, 63, right, sits with his attorney Jerry Phillips during his bench trial before Judge Timothy Kuhlman in Toledo Municipal Court. Dr. Ebraheim was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor, for causing the death of motorcyclist Lawrence J. Hilton, 54, of Swanton in August. Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, 63, right, sits with his attorney Jerry Phillips during his bench trial before Judge Timothy Kuhlman in Toledo Municipal Court. Dr. Ebraheim was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor, for causing the death of motorcyclist Lawrence J. Hilton, 54, of Swanton in August.
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Moments after a local physician was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter Thursday for striking and killing a Swanton area motorcyclist, Debbie Hilton summed up the last hours of her husband’s life.

“All Larry was doing on the morning of Aug. 30 was going to work at a job he loved on the bike he loved after kissing the wife he loved,” Mrs. Hilton said in an emotional statement to the court.

She, along with her daughter, Kristina Freeman and sons, Paul and Dan, described Lawrence J. Hilton to Toledo Municipal Judge Timothy Kuhlman as a husband and father they loved and the crushing loss they suffered the day he left for work at the University of Toledo for the last time.

“He was the rock in our family,” Mrs. Freeman said. “He was the ultimate source of comfort and reassurance. He was simply golden, but he is gone now.”

Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, 63, of 2935 Valley View Dr., Ottawa Hills, was southbound on Richards Road just before 6 a.m. that day when he stopped at the intersection of Dorr Street, then pulled out in front of Mr. Hilton, 54, who was eastbound on Dorr.

In a one-day trial before Judge Kuhlman, city prosecutors and defense attorneys called a series of police officers and accident reconstructionists to testify to the speed they estimated Mr. Hilton was traveling, whether or not he applied his front brakes, and whether Dr. Ebraheim could have seen the motorcycle — which had the right of way — coming.

Speed estimates ranged from 47 mph to 71 mph. The posted speed limit on Dorr Street at the time was 50 mph.

Defense attorney Jerry Phillips had argued Mr. Hilton forfeited the right of way because he was driving too fast for the early morning conditions, but the judge disagreed.

In rendering his guilty verdict, Judge Kuhlman said the motorcyclist’s true speed was “likely somewhere in the middle.”

Mary Bobinski, sister-in-law of Lawrence J. Hilton, 54, of Swanton,  who was killed on his motorcycle at Dorr Street and Richards Road, holds Mr. Hilton’s picture during a protest outside of Toledo Municipal Court before the bench trial of Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, 63, for vehicular manslaughter. Mary Bobinski, sister-in-law of Lawrence J. Hilton, 54, of Swanton, who was killed on his motorcycle at Dorr Street and Richards Road, holds Mr. Hilton’s picture during a protest outside of Toledo Municipal Court before the bench trial of Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, 63, for vehicular manslaughter.
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“I do not believe the motorcycle was going as high as 65 or 71 mph. I don’t see that from the damage to the vehicle,” the judge said, adding that Mr. Hilton’‍s speed was not unreasonable. “In other words, a reasonable, ordinary, prudent person in Dr. Ebraheim’s position would have been able to see that motorcycle and yield to that motorcycle.”

After hearing from Mr. Hilton’s relatives, the judge suspended Dr. Ebraheim’s driver’s license for one year except for granting driving privileges for work. He ordered him to pay a $750 fine and court costs within a week, complete a defensive-driving course, and attend a victim-impact panel.

Mr. Hilton’‍s family told the court he loved his Harley-Davidson Street Glide and valued safety — never riding without a helmet or getting a speeding ticket.

Mrs. Hilton said Dr. Ebraheim had six previous traffic citations, and when her husband became his seventh, he did not even get out of his car to render aid. She said he later had his wife pick him up to take him to work.

“My husband was nothing more to you than an inconvenience, making you late for work,” she said.

Mr. Phillips told the court Dr. Ebraheim, an orthopedic specialist at the University of Toledo Medical Center, did not take the crash lightly, but said his attorneys had advised him not to formally apologize to Mr. Hilton’s family because of potential civil litigation.

UTMC is the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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