A man who ran down a mom and her three kids during a Roosevelt Boulevard drag race was sentenced to 17 to 34 years in prison after an emotional hearing that saw tears from his, and his victims’ families.
Khusen Akhmedov took the stand to apologize to the family of Samara Banks, who was killed with three of her four sons as they tried to cross the 12-lane Roosevelt Boulevard near Rockland Street on foot at approximately 10:30 p.m. in July 2013.
“I made a lot of childish decisions,” Akhmedov said, “but I’m not a killer.”
Prosecutors said Akhemdov was travelling at 79 mph in a silver, 2014 Audi when he hit Banks, launching her an estimated 210 feet.
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Saa'sean Williams was found dead in the grassy median of the Boulevard. Saa'mir died later that night at a hospital. Saa'deem Griffin died at 4 a.m. the next morning at a hospital.
Michael Diamondstein, Akhmedov’s attorney, argued that the tragedy was essentially an accident fueled by his client’s immaturity —he was 23 at the time of the crash.
But prosecutors contended that Akhmedov had a long history of speeding.
In crafting his sentence, Judge Steven Geroff noted that police in Lancaster had given Akhmedov a warning for reckless driving eight days before the Roosevelt Boulevard crash.
Geroff also noted that Akhmedov had expressed concern for Banks’ surviving son, a five year old who was with his mom at the time of her death but was not hit by the car.
In testimony that left many in the courtroom in tears, Francine Lawson, Bank's aunt, said the deaths had torn her family apart.
“Nobody wants to gather around because Samara and the kids aren’t there,” Lawson said. “You can’t get these things back.”
Akhmedov was previously sentenced to 27 months in prison in December 2014 for his role in a Medicare fraud scam that submitted more than $3.6 million in false bills to the government.
The other driver in the race, Ahmen Holloman, received a sentence of five to ten years after pleading guilty.