Drunken Immigrant Taxi Driver Freed After Killing Man In Crash

Taxi Crash 4

Contributed by: Michael Cost

In Polk County, Iowa, a County District Judge has lowered the bond set for a taxi-cab driver who failed to stop at a stop sign and drove into a ravine while intoxicated, killing one passenger and injuring another.

Mohamed Said Diriye, 29, was charged with vehicular homicide-operating while intoxicated, homicide by vehicle-reckless driving, operating while intoxicated-second offense, and two counts of serious injury by vehicle.

The crash occurred on January 19.  Diriye was released from Polk County jail on Thursday after he was able to pay the lowered surety bond amount of $125,000. The original bond amount, a cash-only bond, had been set at $550,000.

Diriye’s court-appointed attorney, Roger Owens, argued that “due to the lack of certified language interpreters” it has been difficult for Diriye to participate in his defense while in jail. Owens also reported that Diriye is married and supports two children.

Polk County prosecutors were opposed to his bond being reduced, but District Court Judge Robert B. Hanson agreed to the reduction, due to the suspect’s “family and communities ties.”

According to records there were two victims in the crash. Passenger Shawn T. Koltiska, 49, of Augusta, Kansas was killed in the crash and passenger Joseph Brian Foster, 48, of Garden Plain, Kansas was injured.

While authorities attempted to obtain a breath sample from Diriye, he repeatedly “stuck his tongue into the tube preventing a proper test result,” according to court records.

Diriye has reportedly lived in Des Moines for two years, and was also convicted of drunken driving in Minnesota in 2012.

In addition, The Des Moines Register reported that he was cited for speeding in March 2016.

He was employed by United Taxi Cab, a taxi service owned by Mohamed Habib who immigrated to the United States from Kenya in 1998.   Habib claimed that driving and criminal background checks for Diriye came back clean.

His drivers license has been suspended, and the preliminary court hearing has been set for March 6.

H/T: Des Moines Register

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