LOS BANOS — A judge postponed sentencing Friday for a man who pleaded no contest to killing two women in a DUI crash near Los Banos last year.
Ali Farsad, 68, of San Jose appeared in court in the Robert M. Falasco Justice Center. He did not speak while attorneys and Judge Harry Jacobs set a court date for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. May 31 in Los Banos.
The issue of restitution for the victims' families is set to be determined at the same hearing, according to the judge.
"We will handle it unless there are contested issues," Jacobs said.
Prosecutors say Farsad killed Alicia Carranza, 35, and Sara Castro, 30, 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, the California Highway Patrol said.
Three of Carranza's children were present. None of the other victims' families were in the courtroom, which is the reason he requested the trial be postponed, Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby said.
Farsad pleaded no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, as well as 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 defendant had a previous DUI conviction in June 2008.
According to the CHP, Farsad was driving the Ford Explorer the wrong direction, west in the eastbound left lane, of Highway 152.
Meanwhile, Manual Herrera, 23, of San Jose was driving a 1997 Ford F-150 in the correct direction in the eastbound left lane of Highway 152.
He had three passengers, including Castro and Carranza. 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. Carranza, 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.
Farsad faces a maximum of 12 years in prison. Jacobs will determine the defendant's sentence.
Los Banos Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.