A teenage driver accused of hitting and killing a father and daughter with his SUV as they were out for a Saturday morning bike ride in Concord in April pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving charges this morning in juvenile court in Martinez. David Rosen, 17, could face up to three years in prison for the deaths of Concord man Solaiman Nuri, 41, and his 9-year-old daughter Hadessa, and for injuring Hadessa’s sister, 12-year-old Hannah.
Police said Rosen was speeding down Treat Boulevard at an estimated 72 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone when he struck Solaiman Nuri and his daughters around 9:30 a.m. on April 7. Solaiman Nuri died at the scene, and Hadessa succumbed to her injuries a short time later at John Muir Medical Center. Hannah suffered minor injuries in the crash.
The teen pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of vehicular manslaughter and to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving causing great bodily injury in exchange for a maximum sentence of seven years and eight months in prison. Two misdemeanor charges for unrelated incidents in which Rosen was found in possession of a butterfly knife and alcohol were dropped under the deal.
He previously pleaded not guilty to all charges in August. Rosen, who had not been jailed up until this point, is now in custody. Juvenile Court Judge Lois Haight this morning deemed the teen “a danger to society” and said he should be incarcerated immediately. Peter Coleridge, Rosen’s attorney, told the court this morning that his client is “not an evil person” and wants to take responsibility for the pain and suffering he has caused. Coleridge said he has a file full of apology letters from the teen to the Nuri family.
Members of the family in court declined to hear an apology from Rosen this morning. Outside of the courtroom, family members consoled Stoorai Nuri, widow of Solaiman Nuri and mother of Hannah and Hadessa, as she sobbed. “I just wanted justice for me and my daughter and the family,” she said. “I know everyone out there who is a parent can feel my pain.
” Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Nuri family, said that while Rosen’s willingness to admit guilt and apologize is good, it comes too late and appears to be more of a strategic legal move than genuine sentiment. “It rings a bit hollow to us now,” he said, standing next to Stoorai Nuri and a group of family members in front of the courthouse this morning.
“We didn’t hear it on the day he was arrested, when it would have meant something to us.” Cardoza also noted that there was an unrelated collision in Walnut Creek earlier this month in which a reckless driver allegedly drove onto a sidewalk, hitting and killing a 52-year-old Santa Barbara woman and badly injuring another. “It makes you wonder what’s going on out there with drivers,” he said.
“It should send a real message out to teenagers that drive recklessly — this is exactly what happens when you do what (Rosen) did,” the attorney said. Although the teen could face a maximum sentence of seven years and eight months in prison, he can only be held until his 21st birthday, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral. Rosen was charged as a juvenile because vehicular manslaughter is not categorized as a violent felony that would allow a teen to be charged in adult court in California, Cabral said. He is set to be sentenced in juvenile court in Martinez on Oct. 22.
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