LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Nevada judge set bail at $3.5 million on Monday for a California teenager jailed on felony drunk driving charges in a weekend crash that killed five family members on an interstate northeast of Las Vegas.
Authorities said a family van was rear-ended at around 3 a.m. Saturday by an SUV driven by 18-year-old Jean Ervin Soriano.
Soriano told the arresting trooper he had "too many" beers before the crash, according to an arrest report made public Monday. Trooper Loy Hixson said several beer bottles were found in the 1999 Dodge Durango that Soriano said he was driving.
"He basically destroyed a lot of families," said Griselda Fernandez, a relative of the victims. "We're no one to criticize or anything. I know that God will somehow punish him."
A trio of brothers and their family members had been visiting their sick father in Denver and had been expected home Saturday to prepare for an Easter celebration.
The five people killed — three men, a woman and a girl from Los Angeles, Lynwood and Norwalk, Calif. — were in a Chevrolet Astro van that was hit from behind. Troopers said most of the passengers in the van were thrown from the vehicle as it overturned in the desert.
The dead were identified as Genaro Fernandez, 41, of Norwalk; Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49, and Belen Fernandez, 53, both of Lynwood; and Angela Sandoval, 13, and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45, both of Los Angeles.
Belen Fernandez and Raudel Fernandez-Avila had been married for 33 years. She didn't want to go on the weeklong trip, but her children eventually persuaded her to go.