Man who killed woman in Highway 7/8 collision was travelling 214 km/h

Ahmed Darwish, LinkedIn picture

Ahmed Darwish

An impaired driver behind the wheel of a Mercedes was travelling 214 km/h — a hair below the car’s maximum speed — when it slammed into the back of a Mazda 3, killing a woman and critically injuring her baby.

At the police station, told that one of the passengers in the Mazda had died, Ahmed Darwish said: “My car didn’t kill anybody. I didn’t kill anybody.” Later, told again of the death, Darwish asked, “Someone died?”

Darwish, 27, a former financial adviser from Kitchener, pleaded guilty on Monday to five charges; impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and refusing to give a breath sample.

The crash happened Nov. 27 around 7:45 p.m. on Highway 7/8 near Trussler Road, just west of Kitchener. The Mazda rolled several times, ejecting passenger Susana Dumitru. The 29-year-old London woman died at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener.

Her two-month-old child, George, was critically injured with head injuries and was airlifted to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and put on life support. He is now breathing on his own. The child’s father, Razvan Dumitru, who was driving, and grandmother, Marinela Dumitru, escaped serious injury. The Dumitrus had lived in Baden before moving to London.

Darwish, handcuffed in the prisoner’s box, showed no emotion in court. He was set to be released on bail Monday on strict conditions. His sentencing date has not been set.

Just before the crash, Darwish, the lone occupant of the Mercedes, was tailgating another car and swerving between the two westbound lanes, according to an agreed statement of facts read out by Crown prosecutor Michael Michaud.

Darwish then blew past another driver, an off-duty Waterloo Regional Police sergeant, and struck the Mazda.

After the crash, the sergeant approached Darwish, who had slurred speech and dilated pupils. The officer arrested him for impaired driving.

An OPP officer said Darwish smelled of alcohol and had red, glassy eyes. Open bottles of bourbon and wine were found in the Mercedes.

“I had a few drinks and smoked a little marijuana,” he told police.

At the police station, Darwish was asked 17 times for a breath sample and five times to do a drug test. He refused every request.

In 2009, Darwish was convicted of driving with more than the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

Collision reconstruction experts concluded the Mercedes was travelling 214 km/h at the time of impact. The car’s top speed is 215 km/h. The speed limit where the crash happened is 90.

Darwish, in custody since the crash, was set to be released on bail on Monday under strict conditions. He must wear a GPS ankle bracelet, live with his mother in Kitchener, follow a nightly curfew, surrender his passport, stay in Waterloo Region, have no alcohol or illegal drugs and not drive.

His sureties risk losing $50,000 if he flees.

Darwish’s LinkedIn profile says he attended Conestoga College and used to work as a financial adviser at Sun Life Financial

“I pride myself in my ability to pay attention to detail, and my ambition and eagerness to learn make me a reliable person to handle numerous responsibilities,” his profile says.

Darwish, represented by defence lawyer Hal Mattson, said little in court other than “guilty” to the five charges. A sentencing date will be set on March 16.

Michaud, the prosecutor, said he will be seeking “a significant penitentiary sentence, probably rivalling that which Mr. Muzzo received.”

Marco Muzzo, 29, a drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a horrific crash north of Toronto, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year.

Muzzo, who pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm, will serve nine years and four months after credit for time served.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator