Local Somali community grieves cab driver’s death

Abdinasir Siyat, 40, was driving toward the railroad underpass at Oak at 13th when his car became submerged. He was pulled from his vehicle but died at the scene.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - A cab driver who died over the weekend after record-breaking rainfall flooded a viaduct has now been identified. Flash flood warnings were issued for Louisville after three to six inches of rain fell within just three hours.

Abdinasir Siyat, 40, was driving toward the railroad underpass at Oak at 13th when his car became submerged. He was pulled from his vehicle but died at the scene.

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It's the spot where his life ended Saturday night, but it's not where it will be remembered. That's at the Somali Community of Louisville downtown. They described Siyat as a very hard worker and a very faithful man. They said he moved to Louisville from Minnesota in 2011 for a better life and started driving about a year after that. While he may be gone now, they said his legacy will continue on in their close-knit community.

"He used to lead the prayer at the mosque, and that's how we will remember him. All of the time, he used to volunteer to lead the prayers and he would love that,” Siyat’s nephew, Farhan Abdi, said.

Abdi said Siyat's Saturday started like any other.

"He was driving usually weekends- Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Abdi said.

He often stopped by the community center before his shift.

"He was here at 9:00 that day. He prayed with us at our 9:00 prayer. Then, he took his tea and left to work. At 11:00, that's when we received a call saying he's passed away. It was just shocking,” Abdi said.

Abdi said his uncle loved his family and worked hard to support them, inspiring others to do the same.

"He was a very outspoken guy, good leadership, very honest guy, always joking around this market. His nickname was professor,” Abdi said.

His nephew said Siyat got a degree in Pakistan and was working on one in Louisville, always fostering the lifelong love of learning in others.

"He encouraged and motivated all of the young kids to go to school and get educated,” Abdi said.

Academics were a priority, but relationships meant even more.

"No strangers. He was a friend to anybody. He liked to talk to people. He would sit down with you and talk to you all day,” Abdi said.

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A fixture for so many in his community, Siyat's death is hard to grasp, but his friends and family are drawing strength from their faith.

"He was an amazing guy. I can't believe it,” Abdi said. “We just lost someone who is very, very important in our community. We’re shocked, and we are praying for him. When things like this happen, we believe he came from God and he went back to God.”

The Yellow Cab Company tweeted out the following statement:

"We ask for your thoughts and prayers for his family and for the entire Somalian community as we grieve this horrific tragedy."

MSD also released a statement:

Mr. Siyat’s accident is a tragedy and our thoughts are with his family, friends and community.

MSD inspects the storm drains in the viaduct in Oak Street at 13th Street on a monthly basis. These storm drains were last inspected on August 8, 2018, and were not in need of any repairs.

The nearest rain gauges to this area show that between 3.9 and 4.1 inches of rain fell over the course of a day and a half. It is important for the public to take precautions around flood waters as intense rain events can very quickly inundate an area.