7 Felony DUIs; Jean Ervin Soriano Killed Five During Drunken Prison Break
Jean Ervin Soriano faces 7 felony DUIs for killing five people and injuring two more in a freeway crash while he was an escapee from a California juvenile detention center. He had a blood-alcohol content of 0.12 during the accident, well above the legal limit of 0.08, and was charged Wednesday with 7 felony DUIs for the March 30 wreck on Interstate 15 in Nevada. In addition to 7 felony DUIs, Soriano also faces two misdemeanor charges of failure to decrease speed and driving without a license.
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Soriano wasn't asked to enter a plea, but his attorney, Frank Cofer, said his client plans to plead not guilty when the time comes.
"He's a young kid, very scared, distraught," Cofer told reporters after the hearing. Soriano is also reported to be spending much of his time praying for the victims' families and seeking forgiveness.
Soriano earned 7 felony DUI charges because the vehicle he was driving, a dodge Durango, rear-ended a van carrying a trio of brothers and four other family members. The van flipped over on its roof, killing Genaro Fernandez, 41, of Norwalk; Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49, and Belen Fernandez, 53, both of Lynwood; and Angela Sandoval, 13, and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45, both of Los Angeles. The driver of the van, Maria Rosario Cardanas, 40, and a 15-year-old passenger, Eddie Sandoval, were the only survivors.
After Soriano was arrested for the fatal crash that resulted in his being charged with 7 felony DUIs California authorities revealed he had fled from a juvenile guidance center in Santa Ana that treats drug and alcohol abusers. He is currently being held on $3.5 million bail in isolated protective custody at the Clark County jail in Nevada.
According to Nevada's legislative council bureau, the maximum penalty for one count of felony DUI is 20 years in prison and a mandatory fine of up to $5,000. Soriano faces up to 140 years in prison.
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