CONCORD -- Though gone, Solaiman Nuri and his 9-year-old daughter Hadessa will not be forgotten, city officials and family members said Tuesday.
The legacy of the inseparable pair, killed while riding bicycles in April by a teenage driver suspected of speeding, will live on in more ways than one.
A bench honoring their lives will be placed under a tree at Ygnacio Valley Park, where the father used to coach his two daughters. A brother-in-law has named his son, who was born exactly one month after the crash, after Solaiman.
And the family vowed Tuesday to take their story to Sacramento in an effort to pressure legislators into passing stricter laws against people who kill while behind the wheel.
"If we can save one life" it will be worth it, said brother-in-law Emal Karzai, 26, of Dublin.
Karzai and the rest of the extended Nuri family were met by an outpouring of community members in a standing-room-only City Council meeting Tuesday. Officials used part of the meeting to unveil the memorial bench and to raise awareness about the escalation of distracted driving and the dangers it poses.
Karzai said every family member has developed his or her way of dealing with the loss. His is to look up in the sky and have long conversations with his brother-in-law and niece.
"I promise to tell the story of all the great things both Solaiman achieved and even Hadessa in her short life," Karzai said. "I promise to tell every person I come across the story of how one senseless act tore apart a community beyond the Bay Area."
The gathering came on the eve of the latest court appearance for David Rosen, the 17-year-old driver who originally pleaded not guilty in August to felony vehicular manslaughter charges and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving causing great bodily injury.
Rosen on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the charges and was taken into custody. He will be sentenced next month. A lawyer for the Nuri family has said they are hopeful that the maximum penalty for Rosen will be enforced.
Senior deputy district attorney Dan Cabral has previously said the teen could be held in a Contra Costa County locked juvenile hall facility until he turns 21, if convicted.
Concord police Chief Guy Swanger told council on Tuesday that reducing speeding and distracted driving remains a top priority for his department. Swanger said he supports the family's decision to go take their story to Sacramento.
"We have to turn a tragedy into a success," he said.
Solaiman Nuri's widow, Stoorai, wept as Councilman Tim Grayson showed an image of the memorial bench. She stood clutching Hannah, her 12-year-old daughter who survived the accident, as neighbors, family members, soccer teammates and the girls' school principal looked on.
Also in the crowd was 4-month-old Aiden Solaiman Karzai, named after his beloved uncle.
"If my son amounts to half the man he was, I'll be proud of him," Karzai said.
David DeBolt covers Concord. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.