Crown to appeal deadly driving case



Alexander Ryazanov and Wang-Piao Dumani Ross pleaded guilty to dangerous driving of causing death after they crashed into a taxi on Mt. Pleasant Rd.killing the driver.

Will challenge conditional sentences of two men whose high-speed antics left a cab driver dead

Jun 27, 2007 04:30 AM

Queen's Park Bureau Chief

The Crown will appeal the widely criticized sentences given to two Toronto men involved in a high-speed crash on Mount Pleasant Rd. that killed taxi driver Tahir Khan.

Wing-Piao Dumani Ross and his friend, Alexander Ryazanov, both 20, were sentenced May 29 by Justice John Moore to 12 months of house arrest and two years probation after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

"We're in the process now of serving the materials and filing the materials and until that time cannot discuss the terms of the appeal and the issues facing the court," Attorney General Michael Bryant said in an interview yesterday, adding the legal paperwork should be filed soon.

The decision to appeal comes at a time of rising concern over carnage resulting from street racing and other forms of aggressive driving.

Last week, truck driver David Virgoe died in an accident on Highway 400 allegedly caused by street racers. And last month, two Toronto teenagers were killed when the taxi they were riding in was hit by a speeding stolen car driven by 15-year-old Chevon Josephs, who also died in the crash.

On Jan. 24, 2006, Ross and Ryazanov were in their parents' Mercedes-Benz cars driving north on Mount Pleasant toward Ryazanov's home in the Bridle Path area. They were travelling at speeds of up to 140 kilometres an hour in a 50 km/h zone.

At about 10:20 p.m., Ryazanov's car T-boned Khan's Diamond taxi as the cabbie was turning left onto Whitehall Rd., crushing it into a utility pole.

The Pakistan-born Khan, 46, just three days shy of receiving his Canadian citizenship, was killed instantly.

"It was an exercise in speed and bad judgment, not criminal intent, that resulted in the death of Mr. Khan," Moore said when he handed down the sentence last month.

While Moore also imposed 150 hours of community service on Ross and Ryazanov and prohibited them from driving for four years, some suggested their families' wealth insulated them from justice.

The maximum sentence for their crime is 14 years in prison and the Crown had been seeking three-year prison sentences.

"I wonder if the situation had been reversed: If it was two cab drivers racing up Mount Pleasant and they hit a kid driving his father's car ... whether the cab drivers would be getting 12 months house arrest?" Diamond Taxicab general manager Jim Bell said last month. "I don't think so."

Bryant, a long-time outspoken foe of street racing, has warned that would-be Grand Prix drivers better keep it on the track because the province will confiscate and destroy their cars.

"Just on the balance of probabilities, if we can establish that a car is being used for the unlawful purpose of street racing, we will seize it and you will never see it again," he said last week after Virgoe's death.

"We will crush your car, we will crush the parts."

In Kitchener earlier yesterday, Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory had noted the appeal deadline was looming in the Ross and Ryazanov sentencing and urged Bryant to act quickly.


NDP MPP Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) had also been critical of the Liberals for not immediately appealing the sentence that had city talk radio hosts buzzing in outrage for days.