The accused drunk-driving killer of a Placentia woman and her two young daughters was in custody in Orange County Monday in lieu of $1 million bail, and he’s expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nicholas Stephen Munoz of Placentia was arrested on suspicion of murder and driving under the influence with injury, said Placentia police Sgt. Adam Gloe.
Placentia police officers were around the 800 block of West La Jolla Street when they heard the sounds of a traffic crash about 10:25 p.m. Saturday, Gloe said.
“When they got to the street, the officers saw three people lying unresponsive in the street,” Gloe said. “Paramedics were called to render aid, but all three were declared dead at the scene. The victims consisted of one adult female and two small children.”
The Orange County coroner’s office identified the victims as Patricia Santiago Ventura, 33; Stephanie Ledezma, 7; and 4-year-old Diana Ledezma.
Munoz remained at the scene to answer questions from law enforcement, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi. The victims were not in a crosswalk, he said.
A second vehicle struck Munoz’s vehicle, according to Gloe.
The victims were leaving a child’s birthday party, according to broadcast reports.
Ventura’s 16-year-old daughter was walking just behind her and the two girls and saw the car run them over.
“It was terrifying. It was so quick,” Careli Ledezma told the Orange County Register. “We had just been singing and dancing to Spanish music. Everyone was so happy.”
The Placentia Police Traffic Bureau asked anyone with information regarding the deaths to call them at (714) 993-8157.
Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS or on their website: http://occrimestoppers.org.
— City News Service
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