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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Indian cab driver pleads guilty to 'drunk driving'

ANI  Sydney, October 10, 2012
First Published: 14:58 IST(10/10/2012) | Last Updated: 15:00 IST(10/10/2012)

An Indian-Australian taxi driver has been charged with a 'culpable driving' offence, after he sped and zig-zagged his car that had five passengers, before crashing into a pole. One of the passengers was killed on Lygon Street, Brunswick (Melbourne).

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Riyaz Khoja, 26, of Fawkner, pleaded guilty in the County Court on October 5 to one count of culpable driving causing death and four counts of negligently causing serious injury.

He had apparently been due to return to India on the day of the accident to see his fiancee and help his mother run the family business in a small village of Barpi, The Age reports.

According to the paper, a judge prosecuting the case said Khoja had music blaring from his CD player and was driving at 114km/h with one hand on the steering wheel on Lygon Street, Brunswick, at about 2.40am on November 17, 2010, when he lost control and veered into a tram power pole.

The car almost split in half and the four people in the back seat were thrown from the 1999 Ford Maroon sedan. Nihil Patel, 22, was found dead when police arrived, while three of the four passengers injured in the crash were not wearing seatbelts, the paper said.

The judge said Khoja reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of between .088 and .108, told an ambulance paramedic after the accident: ''I want to die. I should be the one who's dead.''

Khoja, who will be sentenced at a later date, could face penalty upto 20 years in jail.

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