By Suzanne Pollak @SuzannePollak
North Carolina police arrested a Quince Orchard High School teacher in connection with a fatal accident on Friday, Nov. 23, around 1 a.m.
Nicholas Saadipour, an English teacher and director of the school’s drama department, has been charged with felony death by motor vehicle, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane control and having an open container of alcohol on the passenger side of the vehicle.
The incident is still under investigation and further charges could be filed.
Saadipour, 35, of North Bethesda, has been previously charged with drunk driving.
Last week’s accident occurred on Interstate 95 in Northampton County. According to the police report listed on RRSpin.com, Sandy Griffin, a 59-year-old man from Brooklyn, New York, and Rocky Point in North Carolina, died in the car accident, which occurred near Gaston.
Saadipour had apparently crashed his Honda Civic into a guardrail. Although the vehicle was heavily damaged in the front, Saadipour maneuvered it back onto the roadway, according to the report.
Griffin, who had three passengers in his car, apparently did not see Saadipour’s car right away but did manage to swerve to avoid it at the last minute. However, his Ford Explorer then overturned, according to the report. Griffin was pronounced dead on the scene.
Saadipour has been arrested on driving-related charges at least three times previously in the County.
On March 3, 2016, police charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol in an incident on Rockville Pike by Grosvenor Lane. This incident didn’t result in an accident. He also was charged with driving while impaired, careless driving and driving while using a handheld telephone.
All but the charge of driving while impaired by alcohol were dropped. Saadipour pled guilty to this charge and was sentenced to probation before judgment, which is often reserved for first offenders. Under this plea, the court defers proceedings.
His attorney at the time, Richard Finci, recalled that Saadipour “had quite a lot of support” during the 2016 incident. “He was very well liked in the school.”
Finci has not been contacted by Saadipour regarding the most recent incident.
“I don’t represent him at this point. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does call, but at this point, he has not,” Finci said.
Saadipour had also been previously charged with careless driving and not having front lights turned on during a police stop in Prince George’s County on March 12, 2016. He pled guilty and again was sentenced to probation before judgment.
On Sept. 25 of this year, the Quince Orchard teacher was charged with failing to obey traffic-control instructions when he was going eastbound on Edson Lane at Woodglen Drive in Rockville. In this case, he failed to appear in court and was to be sentenced Nov. 27.
Following the Nov. 23 fatal accident, Quince Orchard Principal Elizabeth L. Thomas sent a letter to students, staff and families, noting that Saadipour is now “on leave while he addresses this serious matter.”
Thomas wrote that Saadipour was not injured in the “serious car accident.” However, she wrote, “another person involved in the accident has died, and others are seriously injured.”
Students and staff needing support were told to speak with counselors and psychologists at the Gaithersburg-based high school.