A man with a prior DUI conviction pleaded no contest Friday to murder and DUI charges stemming from a fiery crash in South Los Angeles that killed two young children and their father and seriously injured another child.
Jose Manuel Garcia, 34, of Los Angeles, is set to be sentenced in January to 24 years to life in state prison in connection with his plea to three counts of second-degree murder and one count of DUI causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense, according to Deputy District Attorney Yoobin Hernandez.
Garcia ran a red light on April 28, 2018, at the intersection of South Hoover and West 76th streets and struck a minivan carrying a family of five, authorities said.
The minivan burst into flames, and Juan Reynoso, 34, and two of his children, 5-month-old Sebastian and 6-year-old Emma, died at the scene.
Two other family members survived the crash, including Reynoso’s 9-year-old son, Julian, who suffered major burn injuries and has undergone numerous surgical procedures, according to the prosecutor.
The boy, who lost all or portions of nine fingers, received a set of prosthetic hands in June 2019 that had been created for him by a team of engineering students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Garcia — who had a prior DUI conviction from 2011 — was arrested by investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Traffic Division the night of the crash. He has remained in jail since then.