Family and friends mourned on Sunday the loss of a family of five from Los Angeles killed on a highway in Nevada when the minivan they were in was hit by a man in an SUV who police said was driving drunk.
Mark Bracamontes, a relative, said family members gathered at the family’s Baldwin Park home on a somber Easter Sunday to remember their relatives.
“We’re hanging on,” he said. “Our family is just devastated by what happened.”
The family members were killed before dawn Saturday on Interstate 15 in a town called Mesquite, north of Las Vegas. Police arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of drunken driving.
The family members who died were identified as Genaro Fernandez, 41; Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49; Belen Fernandez, 53; Angela Sandoval, 13; and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45.
The family was returning from a week-long trip to visit a dying relative in Colorado, family members said.
"It's a tragic event that hits everybody hard, especially when there are so many deceased on the scene," said Jeremy Elliot of the Nevada Highway Patrol. "Five is a lot to lose in one day."
Jean Soriano, 18, (pictured, right) was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence above the legal limit. He was treated for minor injuries. He's expected in a Nevada courtroom on Monday.
His 1999 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle with Utah plates struck the rear of the family's 2002 Chevy Astro van, police said.
The van went into a spin and went off the highway. Five of the occupants were thrown from the minivan.
Two people in the van survived and were listed in critical condition on Saturday.
It was not immediately clear whether the injured victims were members of the deceased victims' family.
Video from the crash location showed Soriano's SUV on its roof. The van was located in a field off the side of the road.
Genaro Fernandez Jr., the victim's son, struggled to talk on Sunday.
"All I have left of him is a memory," he said. "I'm sure gunna miss him a whole lot."