An 18-year-old charged with DUI in a crash that killed five members of a local family had escaped from a juvenile detention center more than 30 days before the crash.
Jean Ervin Soriano escaped on March 1 from the Youth Guidance Center in Santa Ana, which is operated by the county’s probation department, the L.A. Times reports.
Details of how Soriano escaped and what efforts the department took to locate him were unknown.
He is accused of being behind the wheel of a Dodge Durango about 3 a.m. Saturday when it rear-ended a minivan on Interstate 15, about 30 miles south of Mesquite.
There were seven people inside the minivan. Five of them were killed in the crash.
Troopers said most of the passengers in the van were thrown from the vehicle as it overturned.
An arrest report made public Monday indicates Soriano told the arresting trooper he had “too many” beers before the crash.
Investigators said they found numerous beer bottles in Soriano’s vehicle.
After being released from the hospital, Soriano was booked on seven counts of driving under the influence, along with driving without a license and failing to reduce speed.
He faces eight to 20 years in years in state prison if convicted. His bail was set at $3.5 million, and he is due back in court April 10.
The victims have been identified as 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.
A 15-year-old boy and 40-year-old woman who were also in the van survived the crash.