EL PASO — A North Texas family is mourning two children and a teenager killed in a car crash Sunday afternoon by a suspected drunk driver.
The kids were visiting their grandparents in El Paso. They died when a Ford F-150 pickup truck plowed into the family’s Chevy Impala sedan, sending it through a fence and into the yard of a neighborhood residence.
"It sounded like an explosion," said Stephanie Varela, who witnessed the accident with her older sister.
"We started running to see if the people were OK," added Rosario Vela.
The two young girls, who were walking near the intersection where the accident happened, told investigators the pickup truck was speeding.
Eleven-year-old Brenda Morales, her eight-year-old brother DeMarco and their 18-year-old cousin Jassmine Alferez died along with their grandfather, 61-year-old Humberto Alferez and Aurora Sombra, 52.
Neighbors said the youngsters were visiting their grandfather while on summer vacation.
“There are many victims here. Even the tenants are moving out. They’re traumatized.” said Leyva, who owns the home where one of the vehicles came to rest.
The crash left many in the quiet neighborhood shaken up. Some witnesses heard the children crying before emergency crews arrived.
The man behind the wheel of the pickup truck survived and was able to climb out of his vehicle.
Investigators with the El Paso County Sheriff’s office suspect that Alberto Coronado, 23, ran a stop sign, and that alcohol and speed were factors.
Coronado was arrested at the scene and now faces five counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Children were among those leaving religious candles at a small memorial that marked the spot where the family was killed. One young boy bowed his head as he looked at the candles and small stuffed dog left at the memorial.