Family of 4 Killed in Car Crash Identified, Including Pregnant Woman

By Zachary Stieber

The family of 4 killed in a car crash on May 26 in California were identified as a man, his girlfriend, their children, and their unborn child.

The victims were named by a relative to KABC as Samuel Soto, 40, his girlfriend Alondra Lara, 22, their two children Nicholas and Diego Soto, 9 and 2 respectively, and Lara’s unborn child. She was six months pregnant.

The vehicle was going eastbound on State Route 152 in Merced County on Sunday night when it suddenly veered across the road and went off the pavement, slamming into a tree. The impact sliced the vehicle in half and instantly killed the people inside.

According to a family friend, who set up a GoFundMe fundraiser, Lara’s parents and siblings were in another car behind the vehicle and witnessed the crash.

“This tragic and traumatic event has affected multiple families in a devastating way,” the friend wrote.

Officials said an investigation was still ongoing, including trying to figure out what caused the crash.

“It might have been a little windy, the road might have been wet from a little rain early on, but nobody was having issues,” said California Highway Patrol officer Shannan Stiers told KABC. “It appears speed wasn’t that big of a deal because witnesses were saying 65 maybe 75 miles an hour.”

The highway patrol said that all passengers were wearing seatbelts but later said Lara was not wearing a belt, reported the Bay Area News Group. Diego was in a car seat.

Officials said alcohol was likely not a factor. Autopsies were planned.

DUIs on Memorial Day Weekend

The California Highway Patrol said on Sunday morning that there had already been 741 DUI arrests by the patrol in the first 30 hours of Memorial Day Weekend.

“There’s no excuse for driving impaired. Stay Put. Call a cab or rideshare co. Arrange for a sober driver in advance. Stop putting your life and the lives of innocent people at risk,” it stated.

The patrol said that at least 18 people had been killed in crashes in California during the holiday weekend. Updates statistics have not been released as of yet. At least half of those killed were not wearing seatbelts.

A fatal crash near Malaga likely involved alcohol, the patrol told the Fresno Bee.

A 24-year-old man was driving a truck on Clovis Avenue early Saturday when he started going towards the divider before veering sharply the opposite direction.

The truck swerved off the road and flipped over, coming to rest in an almond orchard.

The man, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead. Alcohol was likely a factor in the crash.