Charges Filed Against Walnut Creek Man In Fatal Crash

The crash at Sycamore Valley Road and Brookside Drive in November that took the lives of a mother and daughter has resulted in vehicular manslaughter charges for a 32-year-old Walnut Creek man.

The crash that resulted in the death of a in November has resulted in vehicular manslaughter charges against a Walnut Creek man.

John Peder Harris, 32, is facing two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. The charges were filed today by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office.

The collision took place on the afternoon of Nov. 7 at Sycamore Valley Road and Brookside Drive.

According to the Danville Police, Harris was driving a Toyota 4-Runner, traveling westbound on Sycamore Valley Road. Authorities say Harris ran the red light at the intersection and struck a southbound Dodge Durango.

Elham Pirdavari, 51, of Danville, was driving the vehicle and her mother, Mahin Dowlati, 72, also of Danville, was in the passenger seat. Both women were killed in the accident.

During the investigation of the incident, Danville police say they discovered that Harris was driving his vehicle with a known medical condition. According to the release, "Harris’ choice to drive contributed to the District Attorney’s office decision to file charges against him."

The specific medical condition was not released and it is not known if it played a role in the collision at this time.

“Our investigation showed that there was no texting, cell phone use, alcohol use, or other extraneous factors involved in this accident,” said Police Chief Steve Simpkins. “We believe this accident was caused by a negligent decision to drive which resulted in tragedy.” 

Simpkins said the investigation took several weeks due to nature of the incident. He added that a court date for Harris is expected next week.


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