A man was sentenced to prison Thursday in a Long Beach DUI crash that killed a family of three as they were trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Carlo Adrian Navarro was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison and ordered to pay restitution as family members looked on in the courtroom during an emotional hearing. They delivered statements during the sentencing phase of the trial.
"You are our neighbor. I have given candy to you on Halloween night, I know I have," said family member Cecilia Ramos. "You used your car as a weapon and you ran over my family. You shouldn't have been behind that wheel. You know better, and you did the wrong thing."
The Oct. 31, 2019 crash killed Joseph Awaida, 30, his 3-year-old son Omar Awaida and the boy's mother, 32-year-old Raihan Awaida.
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Joseph Awaida's mother, Omar's grandmother Vera, also spoke Thursday.
"There are no words to describe the loss,'' she said. "The defendant has given us a life sentence. The world has lost more than it will ever know.''
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Navarro was southbound on Country Club Drive when he lost control on a turn, police said. The SUV struck the family members as they walked on the sidewalk.
He was arrested at the scene.
Navarro spoke in court and apologized to the victims' family.
"I wish I could bring them back but I can't,'' he said. "Knowing that I'll never be able to give you guys back what you lost, I am truly sorry."
Navarro was 20 at the time of the tragic crash. He faced up to 45 years to life in prison, but the judge said she believed he could still be an asset to the community.
"Try to use this time to do something good,'' the judge told the defendant.
Just over a week after Navarro's conviction, a woman who prosecutors said operated a liquor store that provided alcohol to Navarro before the crash pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor who consumed the alcohol and "thereby proximately causes great bodily injury to themselves or any other person.''
The woman also pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to obstruct licensing provisions of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act because she was operating a liquor store without approval from the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, according to the Long Beach City Prosecutor's Office.
A video obtained by prosecutors shows the woman handing a bottle of whiskey to Navarro without asking for identification or taking payment, according to prosecutors. The young man said in a statement that the woman knew he was under 21, had sold him alcohol multiple times in the past and had directed him to return to the store the following day with $25 to pay for the $16 bottle of whiskey, according to the City Prosecutor's Office.