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DUI suspect in fatal Nevada crash was headed to Las Vegas

April 02, 2013|By Joseph Serna and Ruben Vives
  • Jean Soriano
Jean Soriano (Nevada Highway Patrol /…)

An 18-year-old accused of driving into the back of a minivan while drunk and killing five of its passengers was on his way to Las Vegas after visiting family in Utah, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Jean Ervin Soriano told a Highway Patrol officer he had been drinking Budweisers before the early Saturday morning crash on Interstate 15 in southeastern Nevada that killed three brothers, a wife and a 13-year-old girl, according to an arrest report.

Several beer bottles were found in his car, police said.

When asked how many beers he had consumed before the crash, Soriano told the deputy "too many," according to the report.

Soriano and his 23-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries in the crash, officials said.

Police said Soriano rear-ended the Chevy Astrovan carrying seven people on their way home from Denver, where they had been visiting a dying relative, at about 3 a.m.

The van spun out of control and overturned, authorities said. Five people inside died: Genaro Fernandez, 41, of Norwalk; Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49, and Belen Fernandez, 53, of Lynwood; and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45, and Angela Sandoval, 13, of Los Angeles.

The two occupants of the van who survived were hospitalized in critical condition, according to Loy Hixson of the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Soriano's bail was set at $3.5 million. He's scheduled to be arraigned April 10. He was booked on seven counts of DUI and causing death or great bodily injury.

The Fernandez home in East Los Angeles was quiet Monday morning.

"Such a sad thing to hear," said Maria-Elena Ramirez, 59, a neighbor of Leonardo Fernandez and his family. "Such a sad thing to happen."

News of the deaths, particularly 13-year-old Angela’s, spread quickly.

"I'm going to miss that little girl," said Ramirez, Angela’s neighbor. "She was always walking around with a smile on her face."

There were three white balloons tied to the plants along the green walkway leading to the family's home Monday morning.

One said, "RiP Angela, we miss you."

A relative said the family was starting a fund to help pay for the funerals. The fund is called the Fernandez Foundation at Bank of America.

Friends of Angela said they are planning a car wash in Pico Rivera over the weekend to help raise funds.


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