Woman fighting for life after ‘vicious assault’
WINDSOR — The shocking weekend assault of a 75-year-old woman left her with head injuries so terrible, the surgeon who treated her says they’re among the worst he’s seen in his career here.
“In my 12 years in Windsor, this is the most severe beating I’ve seen,” said Dr. Balraj Jhawar, a neurosurgeon at the Ouellette Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital.
Sara Anne Widholm, a grandmother and Riverside resident, remained in critical condition Wednesday in hospital.
She suffered multiple brain hemorrhages, a blood clot on the surface of her brain that was immediately threatening her life, extensive skull fractures, fractured neck vertebrae, a lacerated scalp and a badly bruised face.
Speaking with the permission of Widholm’s family, Jhawar detailed the injuries.
“The worst skull fractures I’ve seen in my 12 years here in Windsor,” he said.
“I’ve submitted pictures to Windsor police. This is among the most brutal things I’ve seen in my career . . . . Her eyes were so bruised, they were swollen shut.”
Jhawar said he’s speaking publicly about the case because he believes the community needs to know.
He was told by Widholm’s family that her early-morning strolls on Ganatchio Trail are a Sunday ritual. She goes on them to pick up litter and keep the walking areas clean for others.
“This is a super-good person. This is the calibre of woman we’re talking about here,” Jhawar said. “She goes around cleaning up other people’s garbage, out of the goodness of her heart.”
Windsor police acknowledged the extreme nature of the unprovoked assault in a popular park area.
“This was, without a doubt, a vicious, vicious attack,” Sgt. Steve Betteridge said. “It’s very alarming to see an attack of this nature, at that time of day, at that location.”
Habibullah Ahmad, 21, of Windsor, who goes by the first name Daniel, is charged with one count of aggravated assault.
Betteridge credited witnesses for contacting police as soon as they noticed something was wrong, triggering an immediate emergency response and investigation.
“That, quite possibly, saved this 75-year-old victim’s life,” Betteridge said.
Widholm’s children live around the world — Alabama, New York and Sweden. Jhawar said Widholm’s son from Alabama arrived in Windsor on Tuesday.