A 32-year-old man who was reportedly racing another driver on Roosevelt Boulevard two years ago when the other driver allegedly hit and killed a mother and three of her kids who were crossing the Boulevard pleaded guilty in court Monday.
Ahmen Holloman pleaded guilty to four counts of vehicular homicide instead of facing a jury trial.
As part of a deal negotiated by his attorney, Lonny Fish, and Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb, Holloman was then sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison by Common Pleas Judge Steven Geroff.
The driver who allegedly hit the four victims, Khusen Akhmedov, now 24, is expected to face trial this week before a jury on charges of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and related offenses.
It was about 10:30 p.m. July 16, 2013 when Samara Banks, 27, and her children were crossing the Boulevard near 2nd Street, in Olney, when Akhmedov, driving a silver Audi S4 in an inner, southbound lane of the Boulevard, allegedly struck and killed them.
Banks, 27, was pushing a baby stroller. She was with her sons, Saa'mir Williams, 7 months; Saa'sean Williams, 23 months; Saa'deem Griffin, 4; and Saa'yon Griffin, 5.
The oldest child miraculously survived the tragedy unhurt.
Akhmedov, most recently of Northeast Philadelphia, was allegedly speeding.
Witnesses reported seeing the Audi and Honda racing each other on the Boulevard at a high rate of speed, Lipscomb told the judge. The prosecutor said Holloman's car was determined to be "adapted for racing."
When asked by the judge if what the prosecutor said was all true, Holloman replied: "No, it's not what happened." But, he added: "Oh, I'll take the deal."
Holloman disagreed that his car had been adapted for racing. He also initially disagreed that he was speeding, but then agreed that witnesses would have testified that he had been speeding if his case had gone to trial.
Fish told the judge that his client's vehicle did not leave skid marks on the road when he stopped at the accident scene. He said his client has expressed remorse.
Holloman, when asked by the judge if he wanted to speak in the packed courtroom, shook his head no.
"You're not the principal party responsible for these deaths, but you are still responsible," the judge told Holloman before sentencing him.
Holloman and Akhmedov did not know each other.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped all other charges against Holloman, including involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person.
The judge told Holloman he should be grateful for the deal negotiated by Fish.
After Holloman's guilty plea, Akhmedov's new attorney, Michael Diamondstein, and Lipscomb argued pretrial motions before Geroff. Jury selection for Akhmedov's trial is expected to begin Tuesday.
Akhmedov, a former emergency-medical technician, was sentenced in June 2014 in an unrelated federal case to two years, three months in prison for defrauding Medicare when he worked at Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., in Huntingdon Valley, from July 2011 to March 2012.
Born in Russia, Akhmedov came to this country in 2004 and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He lived in Lancaster with his parents, but had most recently been living in Philadelphia with his wife.
Akhmedov also has a conviction in a Lancaster County case. On July 8, 2013, he was driving recklessly when he passed a motorist and waved his EMT badge out of his window, impersonating a police officer. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in that case.