More than 36 hours after a mother and three of her four boys were hit and killed while crossing one of the area’s most dangerous roadways, NBC10 is learning more about the two drivers charged in the deaths.
Samara Banks, 28, and her four children were trying to cross the Roosevelt Boulevard near 2nd Street in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia late Tuesday night. She was making her way across the busy highway with her 7-month-old Saamir Williams, 23-month-old Saa-sean Williams, 4-year-old Saa-deem Griffin and 5-year-old Saa-yon Griffin, when a 2012 Audi allegedly driven by Khusen “Hass” Akhmedov hit them. Only Saa-Yon survived.
Philadelphia Police allege that Akhmedov, 23, of Lancaster, Pa. was street racing with Ahem “Ahmen” Holloman, 30, of Philadelphia when Akhmedov's car struck the family as they stepped off the median.
A mangled stroller, a smashed up windshield and a fallen street sign were just some of the damage left in the wake of the wreck.
Akhmedov remained on the scene after the crash and was later allowed to leave.
"At least he had sense enough to stay, cause usually if somebody hits you while drag racing, they keep on going," said Cherrill Holmes, step-grandmother.
Akhmedov, who has a history of driving violations in at least five different Pennsylvania counties and earlier this year was accused in a federal Medicare fraud case, just got back his suspended license, police said.
Surveillance video from a nearby business showed Holloman's car stopping right after the accident. He gets out and goes over to the scene. According to friends, he called 911.
Both Akhmedov and Holloman were arrested on Wednesday. Each faces four counts of homicide by vehicle, third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Akmedov's car was seized that same day from his home in Lancaster City. Accident investigators returned to Holloman's home in Philadelphia on Thursday to tow his 1994 Honda as evidence and to search his home. A source close to the investigation, who did not want to be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the case said police were looking for equipment used to pump up a car's speed and performance. Both drivers also face five counts of reckless endangerment as well as single counts of aggravated assault, simple assault and aggravated assault by vehicle.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said both were charged with the same counts similar to how a person who doesn’t pull the trigger in a robbery-gone-bad could still be charged with murder.
Akhmedov and Holloman remained behind bars unable to post 10 percent of $2.5 million bail.
This incident has raised questions about how street racing is policed and also about ongoing safety concerns along the Boulevard especially where there aren’t crosswalks.
Ramsey said his department tries to keep the Boulevard safe but that there are too many people “that drive too damn fast on that street” and not enough officers to monitor the roadway while still keeping the streets safe in other parts of the city.
“It’s a tragic incident, no question about that, reckless behavior on the part of the individuals drag racing,” said Ramsey. “It’s also a wake-up call for people who have to cross Roosevelt Boulevard. That’s a very difficult stretch of roadway for people to cross... you just have to be incredibly careful whenever you cross because we just have too many of these tragedies take place.”