CHP concludes probe into taxi crash that killed two

January 4, 2011 4:45:10 PM PST
The California Highway Patrol has wrapped up its investigation into a fiery taxi cab crash in San Francisco last June that killed an Ohio couple, and is not recommending that the driver be charged with murder.

The DeSoto Cab Co. driver, Faegh Behbahani, 50, of Daly City, was taking Karen Marshall, 59, and her husband Dennis Marshall, 61, of Cincinnati, Ohio, from San Francisco International Airport to San Francisco on June 14 when the cab began smoking and pulled off of Interstate Highway 280 at Mariposa Street.

The cab's brakes failed and Behbahani crashed into a highway support pillar at about 40 mph, CHP investigators said. The cab then burst into flames.

Behbahani was able to escape, and sheriff's deputies arrived and pulled the couple from the burning cab, but they died at the hospital.

According to the CHP, the cab began smoking north of Candlestick Park but Behbahani continued driving for about four miles before pulling off the highway.

CHP Lt. Dane Lobb said today that after an extensive investigation, there is insufficient evidence to support a murder charge.

He said investigators presented the case to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office on Monday, and are not recommending any specific charges against Behbahani, but rather leaving that up to prosecutors.

"We presented them with a foot-tall stack of evidence for them to go through," he said.

Lobb said Behbahani, who was not arrested, cooperated with the investigation and gave an explanation for not pulling over sooner.

"He did not think the problem was that bad," Lobb said.

The vehicle had more than 300,000 miles on it, but was still within recommended mileage limits for taxis, Lobb said.

Lobb said that there remained "some conflicting statements, some conflicting evidence" as to what occurred that day.

"It's important to get all the facts in these cases, and to separate emotions and opinions from the facts," he added.

Investigators hope to meet with prosecutors later this week to discuss a possible charging decision.