Judge Dismisses All Charges Against Teen Accused of Killing Five People in a DUI Related Accident

A teen, Jean Ervin Soriano, was cleared of charges that he was driving drunk in a Nevada crash that killed five California family members. A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper testified that DNA evidence showed that the teen’s friend was the one driving the SUV that caused the wreck. A judge dismissed all charges against Soriano.

Soriano had told troopers he was the driver of the SUV that rear-ended a van carrying seven people. Blood tests showed Soriano had a blood-alcohol content of 0.12 at the time of the crash. Soriano’s lawyer, Frank Cofer, said Wednesday that Soriano was intimidated by his friend, Alfred Gomez, into saying he was the driver. The crash killed Genaro Fernandez, 42, Maria Belen Fernandez, 53, Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49, Angela Sandoval, 13, and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45. The driver of the van, Maria Rosario Cardanas, 40, and passenger, Eddie Sandoval, 15, were the only survivors.

Soriano had faced seven felony charges of driving under the influence causing death or substantial injury. If convicted, Soriano would have faced a mandatory two to 20 years in state prison without probation on each charge.

Three relatives of the five people killed and two people injured in the crash stood stunned after Justice of the Peace Ruth Kolhoss ordered Soriano freed.

Soriano’s parents and aunt were in the courtroom and expressed relief. “We’re really happy. Finally he’s not guilty,” said Soriano’s aunt, Nelly Ciprian. “The lawyers provided the proof and the evidence.”

If you have been charged with a DUI or Drug related DUI, contact the Arizona criminal defense lawyers at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your criminal case.