Ahmed Darwish, drunk driver in deadly crash, given 7.5-year sentence
Published Monday, May 8, 2017 5:09PM EDT Last Updated Monday, May 8, 2017 6:55PM EDT
The Kitchener man who was drunk when he crashed into a car, killing a London mother and badly injuring her infant son, was sentenced Monday to 7.5 years in prison.
Ahmed Darwish had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, impaired driving causing bodily harm and refusing to provide a breath sample in connection with the November 2016 crash.
The crash left Susana Dumitru, 29, dead. Her two-month-old son George was taken to SickKids Hospital in Toronto in critical condition. Her husband Razvan needed 20 stiches to close a head wound.
Experts found that Darwish’s Mercedes-Benz vehicle was travelling at 214 km/h at the moment it struck the Dumitru family vehicle, causing it to roll multiple times.
The crash was witnessed by an off-duty police officer, who reported that Darwish was slurring his words and unsteady on his feet.
Officers found two open bottles of alcohol in his car, as well as a baggie containing illegal drugs.
Darwish was taken to a police station, where he refused 17 requests for a breath sample and five requests for drug sobriety tests.
Prior to Justice John Lynch handing down his sentence on Monday, Razvan Dumitru spoke to the court – emphasizing what the loss of his wife meant to him.
“We were a family of three for 65 days,” he said.
“I can’t smile anymore. I’m crying each day and night.”
On the day of the crash, Dumitru said, he had asked his wife when they would have a second child.
“Little did I know that would be the last day of happiness,” he said.
Darwish’s lawyer, Hal Mattson, had recommended a six-year prison sentence.
He compared his client to other impaired drivers including Marco Muzzo, the Vaughan man who received a 10-year sentence last year for impaired driving causing death. Mattson argued that Darwish should receive a lesser sentence because his driving record wasn’t as spotty as Muzzo’s.
Mattson further argued that Darwish, who had been freed on bail after pleading guilty, had undergone counselling and learned that he was an alcoholic.
The Crown had countered with a 10-year sentence, minus credit for time already served.
The Crown also sought a 12-year driving ban for Darwish, while Mattson argued the driving ban should be in the range of five to 10 years.
Darwish had previously been convicted of impaired driving in 2009. In that case, he did not serve any jail time.
The Crown argued that the previous conviction was a “wake-up call” which Darwish didn’t listen to.
In delivering his sentence, Lynch said that Darwish had grown up hearing messages about the dangers of drinking and driving and that it was up to judges to “bring the message home” by delivering appropriate sentences.
Darwish received credit for six months already served prior to his sentencing, meaning his sentence has seven years remaining on it.
With reporting by Abigail Bimman