Suspected DUI Crash in Placentia Claims 3 Lives

A mother who is eight months pregnant is facing the unimaginable grief of losing her husband and 10-year-old daughter in a suspected DUI crash in Placentia last week. 

NBC 4 in Los Angeles reports that a crash involving multiple vehicles happened on the night of Wednesday, January 25, at the intersection of Orangethorpe Avenue and Melrose Street as the family was heading home after bible study at their church.

Orange County authorities say that at approximately 8:45 p.m., the driver of a black Honda Civic T-boned the church van, ejecting several church congregation members onto the pavement. Investigators say the initial crash triggered a chain reaction involving as many as six additional vehicles. 

When officers with the Placentia Police Department arrived at the crash site, two people were declared dead at the scene; a 10-year-old girl was ejected from the vehicle, along with her stepfather. A 65-year-old woman in the church van also suffered life-threatening injuries and died en route to the hospital. 

An additional three people were taken to UC Medical Center with severe injuries, while a second child was taken to Orange County Children’s Hospital for a broken arm and other undisclosed injuries. 

Police have identified the suspect as 24-year-old Mario Armando Paz Jr. of Santa Ana on three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Paz remains in custody on a bond of $100,000.

On behalf of the attorneys and staff of our firm, we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. 

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