Drag racer pleads guilty in death of four pedestrians

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Khusen Akhmedov, 24, left, and Ahmen Holloman, 32. Akhmedov faces charges of third-degree murder and homicide by vehicle.

A Northeast Philadelphia man accused of racing another driver, who allegedly struck and killed a mother and three of her sons on Roosevelt Boulevard, pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of vehicular homicide.

Ahmen Holloman, 32, was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison in a deal negotiated one day before his trial was to begin.

Holloman, prosecutors said, did not hit Samara Banks or her sons on July 16, 2013, as they crossed the Boulevard near Second Street in Olney. Rather, prosecutors said, he was racing the driver who did strike them.

That driver, Khusen Akhmedov, faces trial this week on charges of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, and involuntary manslaughter. Jury selection is slated for Tuesday.

Banks, 27, was struck by a silver Audi S4 in an inner lane of the Boulevard. Three of her sons - Saa'mir Williams, 7 months; Saa'sean Williams, 23 months; and Saa'deem Griffin, 4 - were also killed. Banks' oldest son, 5-year-old Saa'yon Griffin, survived.

Prosecutors said Akhmedov and Holloman were speeding. The two men did not know each other. Both stopped at the scene.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb said the two cars were equipped for drag racing. Holloman, during pretrial motions Monday, disagreed with that description, but admitted that witnesses would have testified that he was speeding in his white Honda that night.

"I'll take the deal," Holloman said to Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Geroff, following Lipscomb's retelling of the deadly incident. Holloman declined to otherwise speak in a crowded courtroom.

Toxicology tests showed Holloman was impaired on the night of the crash. He tested positive for marijuana.

Lonny Fish, Holloman's lawyer, had charges of involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person dropped. Lipscomb said it was "highly unlikely" that Holloman will testify in Akhmedov's trial.

Akhmedov, 24, has an extensive history of speeding, one that Lipscomb said proves malice in this case. Videos posted to his Facebook page before the fatal collision showed an Audi S4, similar to Akhmedov's, drag racing.

Akhmedov emigrated from Uzbekistan in 2003 and became a U.S. citizen in 2010. In June 2014, he was sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding Medicare while working as an emergency-medical technician.


mgelb@philly.com

215-854-2928 @MattGelb