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Alabama Neurosurgeon Allegedly Killed Med Student in 138 MPH Car Crash



Dr. Jonathan Nakhla, the driver in the deadly accident that killed medical student Samantha Thomas, released from jail after posting bond.

Posted by WKRG on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Alabama neurosurgeon Dr. Jonathan Nakhla, 36, was drunk and driving 138 miles per hour when he caused the crash that killed medical student Samantha Alison Thomas, 24, authorities say. Now he’s been charged with manslaughter.

The defendant’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08 percent according to authorities cited in a WKRG report. Testing was pending, however, and there have (as of the time of this writing) been no intoxication-specific charges filed.

“At this point in time we don’t consider that a material aspect of the case,” Nakhla attorney Dennis Knizley said, according to “If that changes, we’ll certainly address it.”

The defendant was allegedly going 138 miles per hour in a 45 zone on the West I-65 Service Road on August 1. He swerved his Audi in order to avoid another vehicle and crashed off-road, according to an investigator’s account. Thomas, a passenger in the defendant’s Audi, died. Nakhla received non-life threatening injuries and posted a $200,000 bond on Wednesday.

Knizley suggested that data from the Audi was unreliable because it rolled over. He asserted the incident was an accident. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 2.

Thomas’ family is working with the University of South Alabama to set up a scholarship in her name, according to Fox 10. At the time of her death, she was working her third year seeking a medical degree at the school.

Nakhla was a neurosurgeon at the Mobile Infirmary.

[Mugshot via Mobile DA’s Office]

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