JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Family members involved in a crash last month that took three of their loved ones are speaking out. Four people were in the car, but only one survived.
Meanwhile, the man accused in their deaths was in court today.
The driver, Roberto Ramirez, was celebrating his birthday with his family that day. He had his wife, his nephew, and his mother-in-law in the car with him. He was the only one who made it out alive.
It’s been nearly a month since tragedy struck and took three innocent lives. On Aug. 24, Ramirez was driving his family home when an alleged drunk driver smashed into the right side of his car at Merrill Rd and Hartsfield Rd.
“I lost consciousness,” Ramirez said in Spanish. “It was very hard, very abrupt.”
Ramirez lost his 50-year-old wife Yahil Perez, his 73-year-old mother-in-law Maria Elena Hernandez, and his 21-year-old nephew Oscar Rolando.
Oscar was Elizabeth Luque’s son. She was riding home with her husband and second son in a different car when she realized something was wrong. No one from the other vehicle was picking up their phone.
“And since they didn’t answer their phones, her family looked on the GPS and saw that there had been an accident,” Luque said in Spanish.
Luque’s niece confirmed they were the ones in the accident. Officials pronounced two of them dead at the scene. Ramirez and Oscar were rushed to the hospital.
“When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor there and the doctor on call told us that unfortunately my son had not survived the impact,” Luque said in Spanish over tears.
Ramirez feels awful knowing he is the only one who survived.
Now, they want justice. Orlando Lopez Vazquez was the man driving the other vehicle. The crash report says he was traveling about 100 miles per hour when the crash happened. Vasquez was charged with three counts of DUI-manslaughter and one count of DUI with damage. On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“Let this be an example of why no one should ever drink and drive and kill innocent people again,” Luque said in Spanish. “It’s not fair.”
“He shouldn’t go unpunished, and justice should be done because more people could die from of an irresponsible person like him,” Ramirez said in Spanish.
Vazquez has had a history of drinking and driving. He had a previous incident in 2020 when he plead guilty to driving under the influence.
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Vazquez’s next court date is set for October 25th.