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John Peder Harris Back in Court for Role in Double Fatal Collision

In November, John Peder Harris was speeding and ran a red light, striking another vehicle and killing the mother and daughter inside. He plead not guilty. The case continues Wednesday in court.

John Peder Harris is due back at the Contra Costa County's Superior Court in Martinez Wednesday morning after the case was pushed up from an April 12 appearance.

Harris, 32, of Walnut Creek, on March 7 to two counts of vehicle manslaughter with gross negligence.

On Nov. 7, according to a Danville Police investigation, Harris was traveling west on Sycamore Valley Road in a Toyota 4-Runner when he ran a red light at the Brookside Drive intersection, hitting a Dodge Durango and .

Harris was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for his role in the .

Elham Pirdavari, 51, of Danville, was driving the Durango and her mother, Mahin Dowlati, 72, also of Danville, was in the passenger seat. Both women were killed in the accident. A memorial for the two victims is still set up at the northwest corner of the intersection.

. A lengthy investigation by the Danville Police stated that the Walnut Creek man had a medical condition.

That medical condition, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler said, was a seizure disorder.

Due to the medical information in the transcripts and the evidence, the grand jury sealed the documents, Chandler said.

As a result, Harris' defense attorney had not seen any of it at the time Harris' not guilty plea, she said.

Whether the seizure disorder had something to do with the collision is still in question, however. Chandler said there are three factors that lead to the Nov. 7 collision.

"The factors include running a red light, speeding, and a seizure disorder,"

Chandler said Harris was going at least 62 mph when the cars collided. She added that Harris' license was valid and there were no restrictions placed on it.

Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins said the department's investigation showed no extraneous factors, such as texting, cell phone use or alcohol use, were involved in the accident.

“We believe this accident was caused by a negligent decision to drive, which resulted in tragedy,” Simpkins said.

If convicted of these two charges, Harris could face up to seven years and four months in prison. Chandler said the counts could not be merged into each other and Harris would have to serve time for each charge individually.

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Lynne May 23, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I simply don't understand how a man can kill two people (while speeding and running a red light) and ONLY have to serve up to 7 years and 4 months in prison! It's not as though this was an *accident*, his negligent driving cost two women the rest of their lives!! It was a conscious decision on his part to drive recklessly, why isn't the prison term much, much greater?
terry mendoza May 23, 2012 at 09:32 PM
This is so heart-breaking...i knew the older woman - only be seeing her walking her little dog in our development every day. I think she did not speak English fluently, but we did communicate by smiles and other expressions. The young man who killed her i feel sure did not mean to hurt her, but his reckless decision caused so much heartbreak, he must be held responsible. May she and her daughter rest in peace and may her family find peace as well. As for me, i will always remember her sweet smile and her little dog. God help us learn from this awful tragedy. May we always be conscious of our actions and how we affect our neighbors and friends by them. Tm
Mary May 24, 2012 at 05:13 PM
This is just ridiculous to me. The judgment system is so bureaucratized that cannot even simply handle such an easy case. Everyone is scared of pointing the finger of accusation right to this man's face. It’s not complicated & I don’t get it. We are not bunch of idiots seating here every day reading news about our little community. He is simply guilty and he has to be charged and go to prison. Even in an unlikely scenario where he has/had seizure, how on the earth he had no record/restrictions on his driver license. Who has diagnosed him with seizure? Im a doctor and as a doctor you have to report the seizure to DMV right away (and by right away I mean RIGHT AWAY). If the guy leaves your office with seizure and hit someone then the doctor will be charged of negligence and he has to go to prison. These things are not joke people…are serious stuff. I don’t understand this case. I seriously don’t. But if someone hits my daughter or husband like this and try to cover it up by medical documents, he better run away from me. Im sorry guys Im not trying to be offensive or an evil , but for a moment imagine this happens to your close family or friend and the judgment system act so poorly on your behalf to protect the rights of those lost. I have seen so many of medical cases/accidents in my career and it’s amazing how people try to hold back responsibility and play with others lives. Sighhhhhh….
Sue June 20, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Mary, you state that you're a doctor???? I find that very hard to believe. I have read your post twice and your english (writing) is so terrible that I cannot fathom any college that would have given you a diploma! I agree with your idea of your post, however, there is no way you are a doctor and if I were you I surely wouldn't profess to be one. If you are a doctor, please let me know where so I'll make sure that I never make an appointment with you. Nobody would be able to understand your diagnosis.
Mary August 09, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Yes I already know that my writing is horrible, you don't need to tell me. Are you a writing teacher trying to advertise here? My point was something else and you are totally in a wrong page. My degree is from Sweden and yes I am a board certified Int Med doctor. So what is your problem now? Jealous? just relax you'll be OK.

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