The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed felony charges today against a 32-year-old Walnut Creek man in connection with a November car crash that claimed the lives of two Danville women.  John Peder Harris was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.  


On November 7, 2011, Harris was the driver of a Toyota 4-Runner travelling westbound on Sycamore Valley Road.  Harris went through the red light at the intersection with Brookside Dr., and struck a southbound Dodge Durango driven by Elham Pirdavari, 51, of Danville.  Pirdavari and her mother, Mahin Dowlati, 72, of Danville, were killed in the accident.  


Investigation by the Danville Police Department revealed that Harris drove his vehicle with a known medical condition. Harris’ choice to drive contributed to the District Attorney’s Office decision to file charges against him. 


“Our investigation showed that there was no texting, cell phone use, alcohol use, or other extraneous factors involved in this accident,” Police Chief Steve Simpkins stated. “We believe this accident was caused by a negligent decision to drive which resulted in tragedy.”


For more information, contact Police Chief Steve Simpkins at (925) 314-3700 or