A 24-year-old Santa Ana man was charged Friday with gross vehicular manslaughter and other counts in a crash that killed two adults and a 10-year-old girl in Placentia.
Mario Armando Paz Jr. was charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, six counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and six counts of DUI with a blood-alcohol of .08% or more causing injury, all felonies. He is also facing sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury on the victims.
According to the criminal complaint, his blood alcohol level was .14, nearly twice the legal limit of .08. Paz is also accused of running a red light and driving at an unsafe speed, according to the complaint.
Paz did not enter a plea at his Friday arraignment, which was rescheduled for Feb. 10 in the North Justice Center in Fullerton.
The victims who died in the crash were identified as 10-year-old Lucero Lopez of Anaheim, 36-year-old Alberto Vicente Lopez of Anaheim, and 65-year-old Gregoria Ramirez of Placentia, according to Placentia police Sgt. Joe Connell.
Placentia Police Department officers responded at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday to the intersection of Orangethorpe Avenue and South Melrose Street, where they learned that the driver of a black Honda Civic crashed into the rear of a white van from which a number of people were ejected.
Several other vehicles were involved in the crash, authorities said. As many as eight people suffered injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening, police said.
Three victims were taken to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange with serious injuries, and two children were rushed to Children’s Hospital Orange County, where Lucero was pronounced dead, police said.
Lopez and Ramirez were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
A church employee was driving the victims home in the van from a Bible study group, Connell said.