A few days ago, Akhtar Sahibzada visited some of his relatives in Germantown. His niece Saleha Qayyum brought him a cup of coffee.
Sahibzada remembered her as a hospitable and loving young woman yesterday when he gathered with family members and friends to mourn the 19-year-old.
Montgomery County police said Qayyum, of the 11200 block of Bent Creek Terrace in Germantown, was driving her Mitsubishi Galant about 9:20 p.m. Friday when it crashed into the rear of a tow truck at a red light at Bellevue Drive and Rockville Pike in Bethesda.
Qayyum was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Police said a passenger in Qayyum's car, whose name they did not release, was seriously injured. The driver and passengers in the tow truck did not appear to be seriously hurt, police said.
Qayyum is among more than 20 young people who have died as a result of traffic accidents on Washington area roads this year.
Last week, three men in their early twenties were killed when the car they were in went off the road in Charles County. Speed and driver error were cited in that crash.
Qayyum's family said yesterday that they had few details about her accident.
"I was very sad and shocked," said Sahibzada of Boyds. "It was very hard to imagine what had happened."
At the home where Qayyum lived with her parents, praying friends and family expressed surprise yesterday that the young woman would be involved in a fatal accident. They described her as a good driver. "As of right now, we don't know much at all," said her brother, Shehryar Qayyum, 21, a junior at the University of Maryland.
Rahat Qayyum said his daughter, a graduate of Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, had just had dinner with a friend to celebrate their enrollment at U-Md. when the accident occurred.
She attended Montgomery College last year and had been accepted as a transfer student at College Park. She participated in an orientation on campus and enrolled last week, he said.
Saleha Qayyum, the youngest of three children, planned to study medicine in hopes of becoming a psychiatrist, her brother said.
"She was so loving, so wonderful, no matter what kind of mood you had, she would really cheer you up," her father said.
Qayyum worked as a cashier at Sears in Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg, her father said, but she stopped working about six months ago when she started taking more classes.
In keeping with the family's religion, her family intends to give Qayyum Islamic rites. For the next three weeks, friends and family will pray in her name, Rahat Qayyum said.
Saleha Qayyum's family members plan to bury her today in Laurel.