Man who killed two in DUI will be sentenced Friday

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 26, 2013 

A 68-year-old San Jose man who pleaded no contest to killing two women in a DUI crash on Highway 152 is scheduled to be sentenced in Merced County Superior Court on Friday.

Prosecutors say Ali Farsad killed Sara Castro, 30, and Alicia Carranca, 35, in October as he was driving the wrong way on eastbound Highway 152, west of Highway 33. His 2002 Ford Explorer crashed head-on into a Ford F-150 in which the victims were passengers, CHP said.

Farsad faces a maximum of 12 years in prison. Judge Harry Jacobs will determine the defendant's sentence.

Farsad pleaded no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter last year. The decision by Farsad to plead no contest wasn't based on an agreement with prosecutors.

Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby said Farsad had been under the influence of methamphetamine when the crash happened. The defendant had a previous DUI conviction in June 2008.

Colby did not comment Tuesday on whether he'll ask Jacobs to give Farsad the maximum sentence.

In addition to the gross vehicular manslaughter counts, Farsad pleaded no contest to DUI, felony DUI causing injury, misdemeanor driving under the influence of a controlled substance and misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance.

The crash was reported at 1:07 a.m. Oct. 9.

According to the CHP, Farsad was driving the Ford Explorer west in the eastbound left lane of the highway.

Meanwhile, Manual Herrera, 23, of San Jose was driving a 1997 Ford F-150 in the eastbound left lane of Highway 152 -- traveling in the correct direction.

He had three passengers, including Castro and Carranca. The Explorer and the F-150 collided head-on.

Castro, who was in the right front passenger's seat in Herrera's vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Carranca, in the back seat of Herrera's vehicle, was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and later pronounced dead, according to the CHP.

Herrera's third passenger, 23-year-old Maria Can, was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries.

Farsad suffered minor cuts, and Herrera suffered a cut to his forehead as well as pain in his right arm and hand.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or

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