Lawsuit filed against driver who hit woman in crosswalk

Victim's brother wants harsher punishment

SAN DIEGO - A Del Cerro man wants answers about why the driver who hit and killed his sister is not facing tougher punishment.

Nearly eight months after his sister's death, Vahid Hamzavi said the pain has not gone away.

"Rest my beloved sister, Mina, in peace you so deserve," Hamzavi said as he held back tears. Those lines were part of a poem he wrote and read at his sister's funeral.

Minarokh Hamzavi was walking home from citizenship class in October when she was struck and killed by a minivan on Navajo Road and Margerum in San Diego.

The family says the driver, Lisa Teves, was texting while driving. Teves was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and an infraction for failure to yield.

"She should have been charged with [a] felony," Hamzavi said.

The family has filed a civil suit.

The family's attorney, Brad Hallen, says cell phone records prove Teves received a text message a minute before the crash. He also said a witness saw her looking down and not paying attention to the road.

"There's nothing else that explains how you don't see a pedestrian in broad daylight, in a crosswalk," Hallen said.

Hallen compared his client's case to that of Garrett Sparks. The California Highway Patrol said the 19-year-old took his eyes off the road and killed a 74-year-old man in Ramona back in August 2013.

"In reaching down to retrieve the items from the floorboard of his car, his car wandered into the oncoming lane and killed another motorist. That was treated as a felony," Hallen said. "That was prosecuted as a felony."

Team 10 contacted the San Diego City Attorney's office to find out why Teves only faced a misdemeanor. A spokesman said in part, "The District Attorney's office declined to prosecute the case as a felony" and could not comment further about the pending case.

The attorney for Teves did not return Team 10's calls.    

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