The accused drunken driving killer of a mother and her two young daughters on a Placentia street faces 16 years in prison after being charged Tuesday with three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated.
Nicholas Stephen Munoz, 27, allegedly killed the three just after they left a children’s birthday party. The mother was 33 and her daughters were 7 and 4. Munoz’ arraignment was put off Tuesday until Sept. 8 at the Central Jail in Santa Ana.
Munoz is being held on $150,000 bail, prosecutors said. He was arrested Sunday.
According to Placentia Police Department Sgt. Adam Gloe, officers patrolling near the 800 block of West La Jolla Street heard the sounds of a traffic crash about 10:25 p.m. Saturday.
“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 Orange County coroner’s office identified the victims as Patricia Santiago Ventura, 33; Stephanie Ledezma, 7; and 4-year-old Diana Ledezma, all of Placentia.
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.
Prosecutors said Munoz was driving under the influence of alcohol at an “unsafe speed” and was not paying attention.
The victims were leaving a child’s birthday party, according to Placentia police Capt. Eric Point.
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.”
—City News Service