Ahmed Darwish pleads guilty in high-speed crash that killed London mother
The driver of the car that hit another vehicle on Highway 7/8 west of Kitchener, killing a woman sitting in the back seat of the second vehicle, was released on bail Monday after pleading guilty to five offences.
Ahmed Darwish admitted to dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm and refusing to provide a breath sample.
Darwish was previously convicted of impaired driving in 2009. He did not serve any jail time for that offence.
Court heard that Darwish’s vehicle was travelling at 214 km/h on Nov. 27, 2016, when it rear-ended the vehicle in which 29-year-old Susana Dumitru and her family were travelling.
Dumitru was killed, and her infant son was severely injured. Her husband received a head wound which required 20 stitches to close.. Their family, which had arrived in Canada from Romania a few months earlier, was on its way from Niagara Falls to Baden.
According to court documents, an off-duty police sergeant saw Darwish’s Mercedez-Benz vehicle speed past her in the moments before the collision, and then crash into the Dumitrus’ vehicle.
The collision caused Darwish’s car to swerve across the highway and into the ditch, while the Dumitrus’ vehicle rolled multiple times and landed in the highway’s grassy median.
The officer stopped and approached Darwish’s vehicle. Helping him get out, court heard, she noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred.
OPP officers witnessed the same behaviours, as well as a “very strong odour of an alcoholic beverage,” when they arrived at the scene three minutes later.
They arrested Darwish for impaired driving causing bodily harm and other offences, and took him to the OPP detachment in Cambridge.
Once there, they asked him if he had consumed any drugs or alcohol. “I had a few drinks and smoed a few, a little marijuana,” he responded.
When he was told that one of the passengers in the other vehicle had died, he said “My car didn’t kill anybody” and “I didn’t kill anybody.”
Darwish was asked to provide a breath sample 17 times, refusing each request, and also denied five requests for drug sobriety evaluations. At nine separate times, he acknowledged that he understood the consequences of those decisions.
He also informed the officers that he had a prescription for Adderall, which can increase impairment when it is taken with alcohol.
Darwish had been in custody ever since the collision. Following Monday’s guilty plea, he was granted bail with a number of conditions, including that he cannot drive and must be monitored by GPS.
His lawyer, Hal Mattson, said that he was being released “so he can address some issues” and was “beyond shocked” about the situation.
“He has had a lot of difficulty dealing with the fact that someone was killed in this accident, and that a baby was hurt very badly,” he said in an interview.
“He’s looking at years in jail – the question is just how many years.”
A sentencing date will be set on March 16.