Driver sentenced for fatal drag racing crash

A Lancaster man with Northeast Philly ties who killed a mother and three children in a racing-related crash on Roosevelt Boulevard in 2013 has been ordered to serve up to 34 years in state prison, although he won’t end up in state custody for a while yet.

Khusen Akhmedov, 25, still has time left to serve on a 27-month federal prison sentence stemming from his involvement in a Medicare fraud scheme through a locally based ambulance company.

Common Pleas Court Judge Steven R. Geroff sentenced Akhmedov to serve 17 to 34 years of state time during a hearing in the roadway murder case on Monday. Geroff will allow Akhmedov, a native of Uzbekistan and former EMT for Penn Choice Ambulance of Huntingdon Valley, to start burning off his state time concurrently with his federal sentence, which began in June 2014.

Despite Akhmedov’s growing list of legal woes, his seemingly cavalier disregard for prior warnings about his reckless driving and poignant testimony from victims’ relatives on Monday, Geroff reportedly had a few words of encouragement for the defendant, calling him “a good candidate for rehabilitation,” according to the Inquirer.

A co-defendant in the case, Ahmen Holloman of Castor Gardens, is already serving five to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the fatal crash, which claimed the lives of Samara Banks, 27, of Feltonville, and her sons Saa’deem Griffin, 4; Saa’sean Williams, 23 months; and Saa’mir Williams, 7 months.

The incident occurred on July 16, 2014, near the Boulevard’s intersection with Second Street. Banks, the three boys, another son and Banks’ sister were walking across the Boulevard when Akhmedov’s southbound 2012 Audi S4 struck them at about 79 mph. Police investigators determined that leading up to the impact, Akhmedov and Holloman had been racing each other from traffic light to traffic light, weaving around other cars in a similar manner as a Fast and the Furious movie. Akhmedov, in his high-powered luxury sedan, had overtaken Holloman’s customized 1994 Honda Civic moments before the crash.

The fourth son and Banks’ sister avoided death only because they had stepped onto a grassy median moments before Akhmedov’s car zoomed past them.

With both defendants facing trial on numerous charges last July, Holloman, 32, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide. Akhmedov, conversely, took his case to trial and lost as Geroff convicted him of four murder counts and a single reckless endangerment count. Akhmedov had waived his right to a jury trial and left his fate in the hands of the judge.

Although numerous relatives of the defendants expressed indignance toward the trial outcome after the verdict, they reportedly commiserated with the victims’ relatives in court on Monday, exchanging hugs with them, the Inquirer reported.

Akhmedov, whose prior driving record included eight serious moving violations such as speeding and reckless driving, and whose Pennsylvania license had been suspended in 2011 then later restored, also expressed remorse, even blessing the victims in comments directed at their relatives in court. ••