Family Wants Harsher Punishment for Driver in Crash That Killed Three

Family members of a 19-year-old pregnant woman killed in a crash call for a strong penalty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The grieving family members of victims in a single-car crash in December 2013 want the driver of the vehicle charged with murder. Tony Shin reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from San Bernardino Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014.

    Family members devastated after loved ones were killed in a crash are demanding the driver face stricter punishment.

    Desiree Gutierrez's daughter Island Aguilar, 19, was five months pregnant when the Nissan Altima she was riding in plummeted 200 feet down a ravine.

    Aguilar survived, but her unborn daughter died.

    "It was her first baby," Gutierrez said. "She wanted that baby more than anything in this world."

    The crash in December 2013 also paralyzed a man and killed two others, including 24-year-old father Cesar Caro and 19-year-old Jennifer Blancas.

    Caro left behind a 4-year-old son.

    "He's not going to be able to see his son grow up," girlfriend Chassandra Montanez said. "My son's not going to have his dad there."

    Families of the victims have accused the driver of the Altima of intentionally driving off the cliff while intoxicated.

    Margarita Castellanos-Abarca is facing manslaughter charges with a maximum prison sentence of about 20 years, officials said.

    But the family wants her to face more serious charges and harsher punishment.

    Prosecutors at the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said they could not comment on the case because it is heading to trial.

    Former Riverside County Deputy DA Ryan Markson said a possible reason why prosecutors aren't seeking first degree murder could be skid marks found on the road.

    "And that should suggest that she didn't have the intent to actually drive off the cliff," Markson said.

    Castellanos-Abarca is expected in court Sept. 15.

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