Families Mourn On Anniversary of Knott's Scary Farm Crash That Left Five Teens Dead

Bradley Morales, who was 16 years old at the time, was taken into custody and booked into the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center

Families mourned Monday on the one-year anniversary of a horrific crash that killed five teens heading home from Knott's Scary Farm.

"It's hard not to see my son again," said Prady Aguilar, one of the victim's mothers.

The driver Bradley Morales, who was 16 years old at the time, was only recently taken into custody.

He was booked at the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center in connection with the deaths of the five teens on Saturday, days before the one year anniversary of the crash on the 5 Freeway in Irvine.

Aguilar said it was a relief to finally get the call that Morales, now 17, had been charged.  

"[I] thought, oh my God, what a great birthday gift you just gave me." she said. "And I felt peace."

Morales was charged with five felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, driving a motor vehicle without a driver's license and failure to show proof of financial responsibility.

The teens were identified as Jennifer Bahena, 14 of Laguna Hills; Jennifer Campos, 15, of Aliso Viejo; Matthew Ivan Melo, 15, of Mission Viejo; Brandon Alejandro Moreno, 14, of Mission Viejo; and Alejandro (Alex) Sotelo, 14, of San Juan Capistrano, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Aguilar said on the night of the crash, Matthew told her to rest and he would find his own ride home from Knott's Scary Farm. 

"He wanted to give me a day off of being taxi, he said," Aguilar said.

It was that night that Matthew, a soccer star, went with his best friend Alex and three other into Morales' car. 

Investigators have said they believe Morales may have been speeding when he lost control. 

A year later, nearly to the day, Aguilar said she feels she is closer to justice. 

The young ages of the victims and driver made the investigation challenging and lengthy, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"The accident was horrific," said spokesperson Florentino Olivera. "It was a scene that most officers don't like to go to especially when there are teenagers involved -- and this why the CHP took our time to make sure we had a thorough investigation."

Aguilar said she and the other family members of the victims have yet to hear from Morales, or his family. 

"It didn't seem like he felt any remorse," Aguilar said. "I don't feel sorry because he never even tried to say, 'you know what, I'm sorry.'"

The teenagers were on the southbound 5 Freeway in Irvine returning home from a night at the Halloween-themed event in Buena Park when the white BMW sedan struck a guardrail, rolled off an embankment and became fully engulfed in flames, according to investigators.

Four teens were found dead inside the car and Morales was found outside the car about 50 yards away, investigators said. The body of another teen was discovered inside the vehicle several hours after the crash.

It is unclear whether Morales will be tried as an adult. 

Jessica Perez contributed to this article.

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