Newark, NJ-Three people from one family, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, were killed Saturday night when another family member who admitted to drinking beer before crashing their SUV.
Nine members of one family were packed in the SUV and were returning from a family gathering when the SUV driver, Luis Torres, lost control of the vehicle and crashed it on Route 15 in Jefferson Township. Several passengers were ejected from the SUV before it overturned.
Lucila Colon, 62, and her granddaughter Tevia Booth, 11, were pronounced dead on the scene. Julissa Colon, 36, and her unborn child were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were pronounced dead.
Three other people, two people who have not been identified and Torres were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The other two occupants of the SUV were not seriously injured.
Torres waived his Miranda rights and told police that he had been drinking beer during the day and was “probably twice the legal limit” when he began to drive the family home to Jersey City after their outing at a Jefferson area lake, the Jefferson Patch reported.
Torres also admitted that he has smoked marijuana the day before and had taken some to the lake with him, but decided not to have any Saturday. He also said he was unfamiliar with the area he was driving in and became distracted by his GPS. He also admitted to speeding when he came upon a slower moving vehicle in the right lane of Route 15 and attempted to go around the vehicle.
Elizabeth Echevarria, Julissa Colon’s sister was traveling behind the SUV when the accident occurred. She told police she saw the SUV “apply its brakes, turn sharply to the left and begin to roll,” the Patch reported.
This is a terrible tragedy for the family and Torres will have to pay the consequences of his bad decision. Not only does he have to grapple with the fact that he caused the deaths of members of his family, but he now faces serious criminal charges.
Torres has been charged with three counts of aggravated manslaughter, three counts of homicide by motor vehicle and five counts of assault by motor vehicle.
Torres is being held at Morris County Correctional Facility on $750,000.
Too many people fail to think about the consequences of driving while intoxicated. A large number of people arrested for DWI don’t have the misfortune of causing a tragic accident such as this one, but it only takes one mistake or misjudgment by driver to cause a fatal accident.
A simple DWI has consequences that can be negated with the assistance of New Jersey DWI attorney. But when the charge is exacerbated when aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault it will take an aggressive defense. In spite of the emotions that people feel towards DWI offenders, every person has the right to present a defense on their behalf.