An alleged drunk driver shattered the lives of three families Saturday night, while his own young passengers fight for their lives after a tragic accident.
The charges against Gilbert Sanchez, 36, of Pueblo, include six counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of vehicular assault, two counts of child abuse and endangerment, DUI, reckless driving, and running a red light. His family was in tears when he appeared on the video screen in court Monday. Bond was set at $200,000.
If the court finds Sanchez guilty of these charges with exceptional circumstances, he could face more than 200 years behind bars for those felony counts because the maximum penalty is doubled.
Court documents reveal Sanchez was driving a full-sized Dodge truck at speeds over 100 mph when he allegedly ran a red light and crashed into a Chevy Cobalt, killing the three girls inside.
Pueblo Deputy Chief of Police Troy Davenport tells 11 News that based on witness accounts, the Chevy had the right-of-way, and was making a left turn onto westbound Northern when they were hit. The Dodge was heading southbound on Pueblo Boulevard.
The three girls killed in the crash were headed back to Alamosa from a church event in Pueblo, and in a horrible twist of fate, the father of one of the girls was driving in the car ahead of them. The other two girls' parents were in town for the same event; Davenport said all the parents eventually made it to the terrible scene.
Additionally, two teenage girls were riding in the bed of Sanchez' truck at the time of the crash. Both girls were ejected and seriously injured. One of the girls' injuries were severe enough that she was flown to a hospital in Denver, while the other was taken to a hospital in Pueblo.
The victims killed have been identified as 18-year-old Anisa Montoya, 14-year-old Serena Sena, and 14-year-old Selena Mascarenas. A friend of Montoya's tells us she was president of Alamosa High School's senior class, and graduating next month. Along with the church event, she was also in Pueblo to shop for prom.
According to court documents, officers who interviewed Sanchez after the accident described his eyes as bloodshot and glassy. When he got out of the truck, "Sanchez tried to stand, but was very unsteady on his feet and used his vehicle to balance."
Court documents say Sanchez admitted to having seven beers during an eight-hour period, but said his last drink was four hours prior to the accident.
But according to records, one of his injured passengers told officers she witnessed Sanchez drinking vodka before they got into the truck.
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