NEVADA (CBSLA.com) — Five people were killed and two critically injured — all members of a Southern California family — in an early-morning crash near the Utah border Saturday.
At approximately 2:53 a.m., a 1999 Dodge Durango — driven by an 18-year-old later charged with DUI — and a 2002 Chevrolet AstroVan were traveling southbound on I-15 when the front of the Dodge reportedly struck the rear of the Chevrolet, causing it to overturn.
Officials said the AstroVan continued traveling off the right side of the roadway. As the vehicle overturned, five of the seven occupants were ejected.
The five deceased were identified as 53-year-old Belen Fernandez of Lynwood; 49-year-old Raudel Fernandez-Avila of Lynwood; 45-year-old Leonardo Fernandez-Avila of Los Angeles; 41-year-old Genaro Fernandez of Norwalk, and 13-year-old Angela Sandoval of Los Angeles.
The AstroVan’s 40-year-old female driver, who was seat belted, and a 15-year-old male passenger who was ejected, were both transported by air to University Medical Center in critical condition.
Enrique Garza, son-in-law to some of the victims, said, “When my wife found out that her mom also passed away, it just seemed that a whole bunch of emotions just came over her. Her mom was very close to my wife.”
Garza said all seven family were just trying to make it home for Easter.
“I couldn’t make this story up,” he said, choking back tears. “You know it’s just so devastating. It doesn’t seem like this is happening. It seems like a nightmare.”
The Dodge also overturned. The vehicle’s driver, identified as Jean Soriano, and his 23-year-old male passenger, both from California, were transported by ground to University Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Soriano was treated at at the hospital and released. He was taken into custody and booked into the Clark County Detention Center where he was charged with driving under the influence.
His passenger was was also treated and released.