A Loudoun County Circuit Court judge has postponed sentencing a man who pleaded guilty to killing two people while driving drunk so defense attorneys would have time to investigate an Interpol report that the man might have committed crimes in Britain.
Judge James H. Chamblin set a new sentencing date of Jan. 30 for Sohan Lal Banga after his attorney, Bonnie Hoffman, said she thought that the Interpol report was incomplete and that she needed time to access complete court records.
Commonwealth's Attorney Robert D. Anderson told the court Tuesday that the report referred to a burglary and an assault causing bodily harm. Anderson did not give more details on the crimes or the role that Banga, a British citizen, may have played.
Banga, 46, pleaded guilty in August to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving after Anderson dropped charges of using a false name. When Banga was charged in March, he gave his name as Palvinder S. Randhawa. It was his third drunken-driving conviction since last December, and he faces as many as 46 years in prison.
Loudoun County sheriff's officials said Banga was driving a red 1990 Plymouth north on Route 28 in Sterling about 11 p.m. on March 12 when he ran a red light and slammed into a 1995 Honda.
The driver of the car, Danyal Mahmood, 20, of Herndon was taken to Loudoun Hospital Center, where he died. The passenger, Geraldine Daysi Alconini Mendoza, 23, of Arlington, died at the scene. Mahmood, from Pakistan, was an intern at a computer company. Mendoza, a hairdresser from Bolivia, was studying for her GED exam.
Police said Banga's blood alcohol level was 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit of .08. They said they found two large beer bottles -- one full, one empty -- in his car after the crash.
Philip Menzenwerth, an emergency medical technician and paramedic, testified Tuesday that Banga was belligerent and angry after the accident. He said that Banga told him he had been drinking for two days and that he initially refused to give his name.
"He asked us to be nice to him because he had done this before," Menzenwerth said. Menzenwerth also said Banga told them to treat him well because "he was a guest in our country."
Families of both victims attended the hearing and wept as they told the court how their lives have changed since the crash.
Basharat Mahmood, Danyal's father, described hardships his family had undergone since the accident. He said that they had to move out of their house and into a small apartment in Sterling and that he lost his job. He said his younger son was having more trouble in high school because his big brother was not there to help him.
"My wife suffers immensely. . . . She can't sleep at night," he said. "We are completely shattered as a family."