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Further conviction for drunk driver who killed taxi driver in Auckland crash

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Auckland,
Publish Date
Thursday, 8 August 2019, 4:10PM
Farshad Bahadori Esfehani was drunk and three times over the legal limit when he crashed into another car, killing Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed. Photos / Sam Hurley / Michael Craig
Farshad Bahadori Esfehani was drunk and three times over the legal limit when he crashed into another car, killing Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed. Photos / Sam Hurley / Michael Craig

A drunk driver who is in prison after killing a taxi driver when he sped through central Auckland and ran several red lights has been convicted of a further driving offence.

Farshad Bahadori Esfehani was sentenced last month to three years and eight months in jail for a December 2017 crash, which killed Discount Taxis driver Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed, 29.

Along with imprisoning Esfehani, Justice Mark Woolford also disqualified him from driving for four years and ordered to pay $12,000 to his victim's family.

Esfehani had pleaded guilty to driving with excess breath alcohol causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and failure to stop and ascertain injury.

Today, the 22-year-old appeared in court again to face another driving charge.

This time Esfehani was beamed into the Waitakere District Court via video link from prison, before he pleaded guilty to one dangerous driving charge.

His lawyer asked Judge Brooke Gibson to convict and discharge Esfehani.

However, the judge declined the request and instead sentenced him to a concurrent three month prison term and disqualified Esfehani from driving for a further six months.

Farshad Esfehani, pictured during an earlier High Court appearance. Photo / Sam Hurley
Farshad Esfehani, pictured during an earlier High Court appearance. Photo / Sam Hurley

Esfehani had been due to stand trial earlier this year over the 2017 crash before changing his pleas just a few days prior.

Syed, a 29-year-old new father, was killed in the early morning crash on Symonds St in central Auckland when Esfehani's black Mercedes-Benz slammed into his Toyota Prius.

The court heard at Esfehani's July sentencing that he was driving erratically and went through three red lights after fleeing police from a car park building.

He was speeding at an average of 87km/h and at the time of impact was driving at 61-74km/h, the court heard.

The force of the impact from the crash shunted Syed's car 10 metres sideways.

But before fleeing, Esfehani told members of the public not to call police and made a comment about insurance, the court heard.

"Don't call the cops, call me a taxi … I hope that guy has insurance," he said.

Taxi driver Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed was killed in the central Auckland crash. Photo / Supplied
Taxi driver Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed was killed in the central Auckland crash. Photo / Supplied

Esfehani and his passenger were only found with the help of members of the public, police and the Eagle helicopter. Police dog units were also called to the scene.

Court documents, viewed by the Herald, show Esfehani blew more than three times the legal limit.

He had a breath alcohol reading of 908mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

The limit for drivers aged 20 years and over is 250mcg, and those who blow over 400mcg will face a criminal charge.

Syed, who was believed to be on his way to pick up passengers, died just after 4.45am on December 23, 2017.

His widow, Nishat Abedi, spoke to the Herald after Esfehani's July sentencing.

The pain of her husband's death was still fresh 18 months after he was killed, she said.

Abedi had prayed Esfehani wouldn't get home detention.

"Otherwise every other person who drinks and drives won't take this issue seriously. It should be a lesson for these youngsters ... You have taken the life of a person," she said.

"The choices he made, for what he did, I hope he understands and doesn't repeat it."

She said while nothing would bring her husband back, every day his young son Syed Abdul Raheem became more and more like his father.

"He is a little copy of my husband," she said. "My husband was very particular about cleanliness and this little man is exactly like that - he wants his things to be in a proper place."

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