Afternoon Newsletter

February 26, 2013

Drunk driver who killed two women in Highway 152 crash to be sentenced Friday

A 68-year-old San Jose man who killed two women in a DUI crash on Highway 152 is scheduled to be sentenced in Merced County Superior Court this 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 the Ford F-150 the victims were passengers in, CHP said.

Farsad faces a maximum of 12 years in prison, and 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 an agreement reached 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, among whom were Castro and Carranca. The Explorer and the F-150 collided head-on.

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

The third passenger in Herrera’s vehicle, 23-year-old Maria Can, was flown to Memorial Medical Center 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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