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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Police: Suspect in fatal Lodi crash was drinking

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From page A2 | October 27, 2013 |

LODI (AP) — The suspect in the deadly car crash that killed five people Tuesday in the central California city of Lodi had been drinking with his father shortly before the accident, and an examination of his home turned up an empty bottle of vodka, a search warrant shows.

Lodi police named Ryan Christopher Morales as the suspect in the car crash that killed five members of the same family. Morales had been released from prison last month and did not have a driver’s license, records show.

Search warrant documents filed this week say police could detect the odor of alcohol on Morales as he was pinned inside the GMC Yukon he had been driving. He remains in critical condition.

Morales had been speeding, the documents said, when he struck a Ford F-150 pickup carrying a Lodi family during rush hour. Lodi, a city of more than 60,000 people, is about 35 miles south of Sacramento.

Killed were Luis Miranda, 32, and his wife, Viviana Rodriguez, 31, who was seven months pregnant. Three of their four children, ages 5 to 12, also were killed in the accident. A 9-year-old son, Eden, remains in critical condition.

Morales lived with his parents just over a mile away from the accident site. His mother told police that when she got home from work, she found her husband and son playing ping pong and drinking, the warrant says. She left to get a pizza and returned to find Ryan Morales gone.

The 750-milliliter bottle of apple vodka was empty.

The Sacramento Bee quotes state records showing that Morales was sentenced May 15 to one year and four months in prison after being convicted of evading police in Alameda County in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. He was released on probation Sept. 2.

Witnesses said on the day of the accident that they saw a man speeding in an SUV while talking on a cellphone moments before the crash.

Mexican Consulate officials are trying to bring Eden’s grandparents to California from Guererro, Mexico. The bodies will be returned to Mexico for burial, the newspaper reported.

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