DES MOINES, IA (The Des Moines Regsiter) – A Polk County District Court judge this week lowered the bond for the taxi cab driver who officials say was intoxicated and driving recklessly in January when he crashed his vehicle, killing one passenger and injuring another.
Mohamed Said Diriye, 29, was released from Polk County Jail early Thursday evening after posting a $125,000 surety bond.
Diriye had been held on a $550,000 cash-only bond.
Roger Owens, Diriye’s court-appointed attorney, in court documents, argued that “due to the lack of certified language interpreters” it has been difficult for Diriye to participate in his defense while in jail. In addition, Diriye is married and supports two children, Owens wrote.
Polk County prosecutors opposed the bond reduction.
However, Polk County District Court Judge Robert B. Hanson citing Diriye’s family and community ties, agreed to reduce the bond.
Diriye, who has lived in Des Moines two years, faces five charges including vehicular homicide-operating while intoxicated, homicide by vehicle-reckless driving, operating while intoxicated-second offense, and two counts of serious injury by vehicle.
His driver’s license has also been suspended, according to court documents.
The crash occurred around 3:40 a.m. on Jan. 19 between Des Moines and Ankeny near N.E. 58th Avenue and N.E. 22nd Street. Diriye, who was driving a United Taxi Cab vehicle, crossed N.E. 22nd Street, failing to stop at a stop sign and drove into a ravine, according to court documents.
A passenger, Shawn T. Koltiska, 49, of Kansas was killed in the crash. Another passenger, Joseph Brian Foster, 48, also of Kansas, was injured, records show.
Diriye was transported to a Des Moines hospital where a Polk County sheriff’s deputy asked the cab driver to take a breath test. Diriye consented but continually stuck “his tongue into the tube preventing a proper test result,” court records show.
A search warrant was obtained to get blood sample from Driye. Results are not included in the court file.
Diriye was convicted of drunken driving in Minnesota in 2012.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 6.