Fereidon Hayatibahar was only 19 years old and didn’t have a licence to drive in Ontario, nor Canada, when he was arrested in August 2019, three days after a crash that killed a Richmond Hill father and seriously injured three others, including the victim’s wife, 12-year-old son, and an occupant of another car.
Now on trial by judge alone, charged with criminal negligence and impaired driving causing death and three counts of each criminal negligence and impaired driving causing bodily harm, Hayatibahar has pleaded not guilty.
It was just before 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, 2019 when the driver of a white Mercedes Benz sedan travelling southbound on Yonge Street near Townwood Drive in Richmond Hill lost control of his vehicle, crossing into the northbound lanes, causing a chain reaction collision.
According to an agreed statement of facts read out in court, witnesses observed the Mercedes pass them dangerously at a high speed. Witnesses estimated the speed to be somewhere between 100 km/hour and 180 km/hour.
The Mercedes sideswiped a northbound Hyundai, then collided with a northbound four-door Mazda. Debris also struck a Toyota van.
The driver of the Mazda, 44-year-old Peyman Masoomi Fard, was killed. His wife Nazanin Amiri and the couple’s 12-year-old son Alireza Masoomi Fard were also seriously injured. An occupant in the Hyundai, Malihe Artekani, also suffered injuries.
The Mercedes was seized by police and the key to the car was found in Hayatibahar’s pocket. Hayatibahar was taken to the hospital, where a number of blood samples were taken.
They were taken to the Centre for Forensic Sciences, where a forensic scientist testified that Hayatibahar’s projected blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was 178 milligrams to 210 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. Eighty milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood is the legal limit.
Darya Barghian testified that she knew Farbod Riazi, who was also in the Mercedes with Hayatibar that night. She said she didn’t know the accused but told Justice Joseph di Luca that she was close friends with Riazi at the time.
When the pair failed to show up at a McDonald’s restaurant and Barghian and their group saw emergency vehicles race by, they feared something had happened.
“Someone in the group called Fereidon,” Barghian recalled, explaining that she listened to the person on the other end of the line on speakerphone. “The person seemed out of breath and seemed very worried. Parsa was asking, ‘Where are you guys? What’s going on?’ he said something along the lines of, ‘We are f–ked.'”
Barghian also testified she went to hospital, where she saw Hayatibahar, who was in the “fetal position.”
York Region paramedic Taylor Bousquet testified he treated Riazi, who was the other occupant of the Mercedes. He said he noticed a smell of alcohol on his breath and said Riazi told him he let his friend drive so he could get the feel for the car.
“At one point, he stated the vehicle started to travel at 200 km/h.”
Bousquet testified he remembered seeing bruising on Riazi’s right shoulder, which he thought was consistent with a seatbelt injury.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Boris Bytensky asked if Bouquet had taken any notes about the width of the bruising or whether he had taken notes regarding any other bruising consistent with a seatbelt injury, to which Bousquet said he had not.
Soroush Nomigolzar, a physician in training who was working and living in Richmond Hill in 2019, testified via Zoom from the U.S. Nomigolzar came upon the crash scene and saw “two young guys in their 20s.”
“I asked them their names. The guy wearing black told me his name was Fereidon. I asked him if we could speak Farsi. At that point, we started talking Farsi. He said, ‘We drank.'”
Nomigolzar said he then asked who was driving.
“From what I recall, the person wearing black said the other guy was driving,” explaining he had also seen the man in black pull a man in white out of the passenger seat of the car.
Christopher Bari, a registered nurse who was working that night in the emergency department at Mackenzie Health, said he treated Hayatibahar.
Bari remembered that Hayatibahar was brought in by EMS and police and required restraints when he arrived.
“He was very agitated. We gave him a dose of Ativan,” Bari said.
The trial continues.