Organizations see outpouring for serial hit-and-run victim studying in Utah from Nepal

Apr 12, 2024, 6:13 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

SOUTH JORDAN — A community effort to help one of the victims in by an alleged serial hit-and-run driver reached a huge milestone Friday. The relief for that victim is coming on the heels of new attempted murder charges against that accused driver, Anh Pham.

One of the victims, Nisha Shrestha, is still hospitalized more than a month after that hit-and-run, and she’s here in the US by herself studying from Nepal.

That’s why three Nepalese organizations are making sure she has help.

At Bawarchi restaurant in South Jordan, owner Navita Poudyal is invested in her Nepalese culture.

She’s been thinking about her community, especially lately.

“It’s always in your brain. You’re doing something, but you’re thinking about that,” she said.

Poudyal said she can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in Nisha Shrestha’s shoes. Shrestha was hit by a car while walking across 600 West along North Temple in Salt Lake City on March 11.

The accused driver, Anh Pham, has now been charged with nine counts of attempted homicide, for allegedly hitting Nisha and eight others over six hit-and-run incidents spanning months, all targeting women.

“It’s a question, right, in your head. You’re like, Why me? So I’m sure she’s going through that,” Poudyal said.

Shrestha appears to have been the worst off. Court documents explain she was on a ventilator in the ICU after suffering a brain bleed, skull fracture, plus several broken and fractured bones.

Nisha Shrestha in the hospital after allegedly being hit by Anh Duy Pham. (GoFundMe)

Nisha Shrestha in the hospital (GoFundMe)

Having arrived in Utah from her home in Nepal 6 months ago to study at Weber State University, Shrestha is in the US without any family.

Two Nepalese organizations Navita serves as Vice President of Nepalese Association of Utah (NAUT) and Non-Resident Nepalese Association of Utah Chapter (NRNA), didn’t want her to go through the rough recovery and being victimized by a horrible alleged crime alone.

“We rely on our family for all those difficult times,” Poudyal said. “And she was doing everything just by herself.”

Those two organizations plus Dhading Nepali Society America Inc. started a fundraiser for Shrestha, and organization members visited Shrestha in the hospital.

On Friday Poudyal said they finished that fundraiser and closed it out after hitting their goal of $25,000.

“We are saying that we are here for you, anything we can do for you,” Poudyal said.

Nisha Shrestha had arrived in Utah 6 months ago from Nepal to study at Weber State University (Shrestha family)

Nisha Shrestha had arrived in Utah 6 months ago from Nepal to study at Weber State University (Shrestha family)

Poudyal said Shrestha’s mother was able to fly in from Nepal recently on an expedited visa to be by her daughter’s side.

Shrestha is making progress in her recovery.

Poudyal said Shrestha was moved to the general ward out of the Intensive Care Unit and is going through rehabilitation as she begins to start walking, eating, and talking.

“She’s going to be good. She’s going to be a hero off her own life,” she said.

Poudyal will stay invested in Shrestha’s recovery, as the community effort to help her heal continues.

“I want to give her hope that, you will be taken care (0f,)” Poudyal said. “I want her to feel that.”

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Organizations see outpouring for serial hit-and-run victim studying in Utah from Nepal