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12/25/2003 23:50:16 EST



Man, Two Kids Killed When Car Hits Home



A man drove his car into his in-laws' house in a fiery Christmas Day
crash, killing himself and his two children minutes before he was
supposed to turn them over to his estranged wife, according to media
reports.


Shahab Behzadpour, his 3-year-old son, Sammi, and 6-year-old daughter,
Nikki, died in the crash in Altamonte Springs, a northern Orlando
suburb.


Behzadpour, 46, and his wife, Hope Custodio, were undergoing a bitter
divorce. Court records show she had accused him of abuse, and on
Friday
she won a restraining order for him to stay away from her, the Orlando
Sentinel reported.


But the couple had shared custody of the children and he was supposed
to
let them spend Christmas afternoon with his wife, relatives and
neighbors told WKMG-TV of Orlando.


Behzadpour's Ford Crown Victoria hit a pillar at the front of
Custodio's
parents' house, in the gated community of Brantley Estates, and
exploded
into a fireball.


Custodio's brother Alex Custodio told WFTV-TV of Orlando that he
believed his brother-in-law intentionally rammed the house, and that
Behzadpour had threatened to harm himself and the children in the
past.


Alex Custodio said the family did not immediately know who was in the
car when the crash occurred.


"The whole thing was in flames ..." he said. "It was burning real fast
and my wife said there was somebody inside there. She was trying to
get
the fire extinguisher and it wouldn't work, then we just got away
because we thought it was going to explode and then we found out it
was
my brother-in-law's car."


The Altamonte Springs police department and Orange County Sheriff's
Department did not immediately return phone messages and pages
Thursday
night.


Yaqood Virani, a neighbor of Behzadpour, said the family came to
central
Florida from Chicago two years ago. He said Behzadpour said he was
originally from Iran.


"He loved his children very much," said Virani. "We'd never had an
inkling of this."
 
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