Walnut Creek Man Sentenced for Fatal Danville Collision

John Peder Harris will serve two years in prison for crashing his vehicle into another, killing a Danville mother and daughter.

The 33-year-old man who in 2011 was driving an SUV that collided with another SUV in Danville, killing a mother and daughter inside, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday, according to the Contra Costa Times.

John Peder Harris, 33, of Walnut Creek, was driving a Toyota 4-Runner that went through a red light on Brookside Drive and Sycamore Valley Road on Nov. 7, 2011. He was going 62 mph in a 45 zone when he broadsided the Dodge Durango driven by Elham Pirdavari, 51, and Mahin Dowlati, 72, killing them.

(Related: Charges Filed Against Walnut Creek Man In Fatal Crash)

Harris pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors offered Harris a plea deal in the case because they believed it would be difficult to prove their theory, that Harris knew he shouldn't have been driving because he had a seizure disorder and suffered  a seizure when the collision occurred, the Times reported.

Harris' attorney told the Times that Harris is prone to seizures because concussions suffered while playing football and had precursor symptoms of a seizure that day.

In the crowded Martinez courtroom, Shadeh Ghezavat, Pirdavari's daughter and Dowlati's granddaughter told the judge:

"We have been robbed of a lifetime of milestones and memories...Now we are left to live this nightmare, to bear this pain every day of our lives. We are all struggling."

Harris said he hopes the family can forgive him one day and that he could forgive himself. He added:

"Feelings of sorrow and remorse burst forth whenever I think of my actions on Nov. 7, 2011...I'm deeply sorry for the pain and loss that I have caused."

Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins also spoke, saying:

"In my line of work, there are a few cases that will really touch you...This is one of those cases. It's obvious how strong this family is, and that's an impressive thing."


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