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5 Family Members Killed in Crash North of Las Vegas

Posted by: on Thu, May 02, 2013

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5 family members killed in crash; drunk driving suspected

March 31, 2013|By Ari Bloomekatz

Drunk driving is suspected in an accident that killed five members of a Southern California family while driving through Clark County, Nevada, just north of Las Vegas on I-15.

A man, his teenage daughter, and her aunt and two uncles — were killed early Saturday in southeastern Nevada when a drunk-driving suspect crashed into the back of their Chevy Astro van on Interstate 15, authorities said.

Jean Soriano, 18, was driving a Dodge Durango on I-15 about 30 miles south of Mesquite around 3 a.m. when he struck the back of the Astro Van, according to Loy Hixson of the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The Astro van, which was carrying seven members of the family, spun around and overturned, ejecting five people, Hixson said. The identities of the deceased had not been released but Hixson said he believes the family is from the Los Angeles area.

The two survivors from the van included a 40-year-old mother and 15-year-old son, both of whom were in critical condition late Saturday, Hixson said.

Soriano and a 23-year-old passenger in the Durango also survived.

Hixson said authorities “had every reason to believe [Soriano] was under the influence while operating the vehicle” and that his blood was being tested. Beer bottles were found in his vehicle, Hixson said.

Jean Soriano of California was later booked into the Clark County Detention Center after he was treated and released at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson said.

The crash happened at about 3 a.m. on Interstate 15 near the Utah line. Soriano’s sport utility vehicle struck the van from behind, causing both vehicles to spin out of control and roll near Mesquite, some 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, investigators said.

A 23-year-old passenger in Soriano’s SUV was treated at the hospital and released.

Authorities believe Soriano was returning from a visit with family in Utah to his home in California at the time of the wreck, Hixson said. They didn’t immediately release his hometown or the names or hometowns of the victims.

Beer bottles were found in the SUV, Hixson said, and troopers performed a blood-alcohol test on Soriano at the hospital. The results won’t be known for a couple of weeks, he said.

Hixson said only two of the seven people in the van were wearing seatbelts. The five who were not buckled in were ejected, but one survived.

“Unfortunately, so many in the van weren’t wearing seatbelts, and some might have survived had they been wearing them,” Hixson said. “We see it so many times where people can survive simply by having a seatbelt on.”

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