Sentencing for driver who killed two women in fatal DUI crash postponed

tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 1, 2013 

A Los Banos judge on Friday postponed the sentencing of a San Jose man who pleaded no contest to killing two women in a DUI crash, as the family of one of the victims retained a lawyer.

Ali Farsad, 68, appeared in court in the Robert M. Falasco Justice Center. He did not speak while attorneys and Judge Harry Jacobs set a April 19 sentencing date in Los Banos.

Attorney Renee Gardner, who represented the family of victim Alicia Carranca in court on Friday, asked for the sentencing to be postponed. “My reluctance is the amount of documents I have to gather,” Gardner said, in open court.

Carranca's daughter and son were present. Prosecutors say Farsad killed Carranca, 35, and Sara Castro, 30, in October as he was driving the wrong way on eastbound Highway 152, west of Highway 33. His 2002 Ford Explorer crashed head-on into a Ford F-150 in which the victims were passengers, CHP said.

Gardner said she's in the process of gathering the helicopter transport, funeral, hospital, professional services, radiology and laboratory bills for Carranca.

"I would like, your honor, to have a full flavor of all of the bills that the family has incurred in this vehicular manslaughter before sentence is imposed," Gardner told Jacobs, adding she would like to gather victim impact statements.

Farsad has pleaded no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, as well as DUI, felony DUI causing injury, misdemeanor driving under the influence of a controlled substance and misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance.

The court is waiting on a toxicology report, but prosecutors say Farsad had been under the influence of methamphetamine when the crash happened. The defendant had a previous DUI conviction in June 2008.

According to the CHP, Farsad was driving the Ford Explorer west in the eastbound left lane of the highway. Meanwhile, Manual Herrera, 23, of San Jose was driving a 1997 Ford F-150 in the eastbound left lane of Highway 152 — traveling in the correct direction.

He had three passengers, including Castro and Carranca. The Explorer and the F-150 collided head-on.

Castro, who was in the right front passenger’s seat in Herrera’s vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Carranca, in the back seat of Herrera’s vehicle, was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and later pronounced dead, according to the CHP.

Herrera's third passenger, 23-year-old Maria Can, was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries.

Farsad suffered minor cuts, and Herrera suffered a cut to his forehead as well as pain in his right arm and hand.

Farsad faces a maximum of 12 years in prison. Jacobs will determine the defendant’s sentence.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanosenterprise.com.

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