WESTBROOK, Maine — A Fouad Abdullah, who fled from ISIS and the war in Iraq, was building a new life in Westbrook, even becoming the state’s table tennis champion, before his life was tragically cut short on Jan. 22.

A family friend said Fouad, 22, had just finished working an overnight shift and was driving home to his family in Westbrook.

He said Fouad’s father believes his son had fallen asleep at the wheel, when he hit a guardrail and went airborne.

Fouad Abdullah was born in Mosul, Iraq. Four years ago, with ISIS waging war, he and his family fled to Turkey. They later immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Maine.

The sport Fouad loved most was table tennis. In Iraq, he was ranked third in his country, and in his first state tournament in Maine he won singles and doubles championships. Guy Boisse remembers when Fouad’s dad first brought his son to the Maine Table Tennis League.

“In a matter of a few minutes, I could tell he was way superior than I could imagine he’d be,” Boisse said.

Boisse said Fouad also won state doubles titles the last two years, but he said Fouad also had obligations to his parents and younger sister and brother.

“He had a lot of jobs to keep his family situated, “Boisse said. “And it’s a tremendous loss for table tennis, as far as we’re concerned, as well as for his family.”

Police sai Fouad’s car traveled 40 yards in the air before crashing upside down in the Stroudwater River.

Friends said Fouad Abdullah had dreams of making the Olympic table tennis team. A family friend said the Abdullah family is heartbroken and in tears over Fouad’s death.