Ahmed Darwish: 27-year-old gets seven-and-a-half years in prison for impaired crash that killed London woman, leaving anguished widower behind
Razvan Dumitru says his life was perfect for 65 days.
He and his wife, Susana, had welcomed their first child into the world two months earlier, and the couple, who’d moved to London last September, was designing their dream home.
But everything changed on Nov. 27, 2016, as they returned home from a day trip to Niagara Falls.
Ahmed Darwish, 27, was speeding down Highway 7, near Kitchener, weaving across the road, driving on the shoulder and passing vehicles. His Mercedes accelerated to 214 km/h — just one click shy of its mechanical limit — when it slammed into the back of the Mazda carrying the Dumitru family, killing Susana, 29, and leaving baby George with a life-long brain injury.
“I had a perfect life, a wonderful wife and baby. We were a family of three for 65 days,” Razvan said in an emotional victim impact statement at Darwish’s sentencing Monday at the Waterloo Regional Courthouse.
“I have no words to describe how I felt when my child’s mother, the love of my life, died in my arms. I would have given my life for her.”
Darwish pleaded guilty in March to impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and refusing to provide a breath sample.
Ontario Court Justice John Lynch sentenced Darwish to seven-and-a-half years in prison. Darwish, who has a past impaired driving conviction, was also banned from driving for 10 years.
Defence lawyer Hal Mattson had sought a six-year sentence, while assistant Crown attorney Michael Michaud pushed for 10 years.
“The life of a young woman has been taken,” Lynch said in his summary. “This court has nothing to offer that can fill the void.”
The court watched footage of Darwish at the Cambridge OPP detachment, where the Kitchener man refused a breathalyzer test 17 times after the crash.
When told by a police officer that Dumitru had died, Darwish replied: “My car didn’t kill anybody.”
Investigators found two open bottles of alcohol and a bag of unidentified narcotics in the Mercedes.
Wearing a dress shirt and tie, Darwish, who had worked in finance, declined to address the court Monday. Nearly a dozen of his friends and family, including his fiancee, watched him led away in handcuffs after the sentencing.
MADD spokesperson Sharon-Lee Landriault said she was disappointed with the outcome.
“I would have liked to have gotten at least nine, 10 (years),” she said outside the courthouse.
“It’s hard for the family to accept the lesser sentence.”
But Mattson applauded the sentence, saying his client took responsibility for his actions while he was out of custody on bail, seeking treatment for his addiction.
“He was absolutely genuinely remorseful. The problem he had was basically ‘fessing up to the fact that was an alcoholic, a closet alcoholic,’” Mattson said.
The court heard baby George, now seven months old, will require medical care for the rest of his life.
“I put all my faith in God for a miracle for George, as this is the only chance George has for recovery to be normal,” Razvan said, adding he dreads the day when his son asks why he doesn’t have a mother.
The Dumitrus immigrated to Canada last spring from Romania, where they met at age 25.
While the future once looked bright for the young couple — Susana worked as an architect, and her husband as a construction engineer — Razvan Dumitru said he can’t bear to think about what the future holds.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be happy again,” said the widower, who was also injured in the crash along with his mother.
“I lost everything I had. I’m wondering at times what I’m living for. How can I call this a life? What follows now? I’m just too afraid to think about (it), as I fear it follows a life of pain, suffering and despair.”
Razvan, who declined to speak to the media after the hearing, broke down several times while reading his statement.
“I can’t smile anymore. I’m crying each day and night. I wake up every morning with Susana on my mind and go to bed praying to see her in my dreams.”