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Suspect in Placentia crash that killed 3 is charged with a series of felonies

Placentia crash: 3 killed after church service; DUI suspect arrested
Placentia crash: 3 killed after church service; DUI suspect arrested 01:54

Mario Armando Paz Jr., 24, of Santa Ana, was charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter along with a series of other felony charges for a multi-vehicle crash that killed three people, including a 10-year-old girl, in Placentia Wednesday night. Eight people were also injured in the crash.

Officers responded to the collision at the intersection of Orangethorpe Ave. and S. Melrose St. at 8:45 p.m., according to the Placentia Police Dept. The driver of a black Honda Civic allegedly ran a red light and crashed into a church van. Several of the van's passengers were ejected.

A man and a woman were pronounced dead at the scene. The 10-year-old girl died as she was being transported to a hospital. The eight injured people, including children, were listed in minor to critical condition Thursday morning.

The deceased male was identified as Alberto Lopez. His wife was hospitalized in unknown condition. Her two children were also in the van at the time of the crash: 10-year-old daughter Lucero died from her injuries; the younger son was hospitalized in unknown condition. 

Paz was charged with 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

The van, driven by a church pastor, was reportedly returning from a church Bible study. 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. 

Several vehicles were involved, possibly as many as six in total.

Paz did not enter a plea at his Friday arraignment, which was rescheduled for Feb. 10 i  

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