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Local doctor faces hit-run charges
Dr. Ghassan Al-Sabbagh is taken into custody by Raleigh police
LOUISBURG — A local doctor arrested last week on felony hit and run charges related to a fatal wreck is scheduled to appear in court later this month.

Raleigh police officers arrested Dr. Ghassan Al-Sabbagh the afternoon of April 3 outside Novant Health’s Franklin Medical Center, where the gastroenterologist had privileges dating back to 2000.

Al-Sabbagh was not in the Wake County Detention Center this week.

He is slated to appear in Wake County District Court on April 24.

Staff at Al-Sabbagh’s practice, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Consultants said earlier this week that Al-Sabbagh would not be available for comment, but released this statement.

“... Dr. Al-Sabbagh is an excellent doctor and wonderful person,” the statement read. “We support him 100 percent.”

Novant officials said Al-Sabbagh is not a hospital employee, but the gastroenterologist has privileges to perform procedures at Franklin Regional.

Novant officials said they could not comment on the matter since Al-Sabbagh was not an employee.

Al-Sabbagh’s arrest last week was, authorities said, the result of an ongoing investigation that began the morning of March 20 on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh.

According to authorities, Cornelia Olero Amissah, 64, was killed as she crossed the multi-lane roadway — against the walk signal — and was hit by a woman driving a Mercedes sport utility vehicle north on the multi-lane road just past Trawick Road.

Authorities said a second car, which they allege was being driven by Al-Sabbagh, was behind the SUV and also hit the woman.

The driver of the first vehicle stopped and remained at the scene.

Al-Sabbagh left, authorities said.

Investigators, according to Raleigh Police spokesperson Jim Sughrue, used surveillance footage from a nearby convenience store to aid in the investigation.

And, on the morning of April 3, about the same time of the March 20 wreck, a Crime Scene Reconstruction Unit conducted a checkpoint at the scene of the crime.

Al-Sabbagh’s vehicle grabbed their attention and they eventually took out warrants.

He was arrested in front of Novant Health’s Franklin Medical Center without incident.

The driver of the SUV, which had the green light, was not charged in the fatal wreck.

Al-Sabbagh is part of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Consultants, with offices in Louisburg, Wake Forest and Raleigh.

According to the North Carolina Medical Board, Sabbagh has not had any adverse or administrative actions taken against his license, which was issued in May 2000.

There was also no indication of any malpractice or misdemeanor or felony convictions in his history.

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