Two years after a late night crash took the life of a Philly mom and her three sons, one of the drivers charged in the accident pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday.
Amhen Holloman, 32, pleaded guilty to four counts of homicide by vehicle for the incident that prosecutors describe as resulting from Holloman drag-racing on Roosevelt Boulevard on the July night in 2013.
But Holloman denies that he was drag-racing and slowed down before the crash. Prosecutors acknowledge that it was a second driver, 24-year-old Khusen Akhmedov, who struck 27-year-old Samara Banks, of Feltonville, and her three sons, 4-year-old Saa'deem Griffin, 23-month-old Saa'sean Williams, and 7-month-old Saa'mir Williams.
A fourth child, 5-year-old Saa'yon Griffin, survived the crash.
"You don't sit here as public enemy number one," Judge Geroff told Holloman, of the Castor neighborhood of Northeast Philly, before handing down the sentence. "You're not the principal party responsible for these deaths, but you're still responsible."
Banks' family members wept in the courtroom as prosecutor Thomas Lipscomb discussed the details of the crash, which occurred around 10:30 p.m. on the southbound inner lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard.
Banks was thrown 210 feet by the force of the crash, Lipscomb said, after she, her children and a baby stroller were struck by Akhmedov's silver 2014 Audi S4 traveling at an estimated speed of 79 miles per hour while they were crossing the 12-lane Boulevard near Rockland Street.
Saa'sean was found dead in the grassy median of the Boulevard. Saa'mir died later that night at a hospital. Saa'deem died at 4 a.m. the next morning at a hospital.
Numerous witnesses saw Akhemdov's Audi and a souped up white 1994 Honda Civic driven by Holloman passing each other and speeding down the road, as well as revving their engine at red lights before racing to the next red light, Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb cited improvements to Holloman's Civic, including an engine enhanced from the standard 100 horsepower to 129 horsepower, a supporting structure within the engine to distribute its force throughout the car and a pink supporting structure under the car as improvements designed for racing purposes. He called the car's pink towbar "a hallmark of one's desire to race."
Holloman's lawyer Lonny Fish said, "There may have been some reckless driving," but pointed out that Holloman stopped his car and did not leave any skid marks.
Both motorists, who did not know each other, remained at the scene of the crash.
Akhmedov, who was offered 20 to 40 years in prison for a guilty plea to four charges of third degree murder, pleaded not guilty on Monday.
His trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday. He could face life in prison.
Akhmedov was previously sentenced to 27 months in prison in December 2014 on federal charges for his role with Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., where he worked as an EMT and was found to have submitted more than $3.6 million in false bills to Medicare.
A week before the crash on the Boulevard, he flashed a false badge at another driver while speeding past her in Manheim Township in Lancaster County and was charged with impersonating a public servant and reckless driving.