Father, mother, son killed in suspected drunk driving crash

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A family is devastated after losing three members in a fatal car crash in northern Harris County.

Pictures, candles and flowers are all laid out as a memorial in the Avila home.

"I'm still waiting at her house. I'm still waiting," said Carolina Moreno, a family member.

She is waiting for her loved ones to come home, still in shock after a car crash took their lives.

Moreno and other loved ones gathered at the Avila home on Monday.

Deputies say Jeremy Valdez was driving drunk and killed Emilio Avila, his wife Hilda Avila and their 17-year-old son, Mauricio Ramires.

The crash happened around 12:30 on Saturday morning on FM 2920 in Spring. Loved ones say the three of them were returning home from a church function.

"I'm feeling broke. My heart's broken," said Moreno.

Jeremy Valdez appeared before a judge on Monday. He faces three charges of felony murder. The judge set his bond at $300,000.

The family is especially upset because Valdez already had three prior DUI convictions. They feel he should have still been behind bars for his most recent 2013 offense.

Alison Braimbridge, a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney, said DUIs oftentimes do not carry as heavy a sentence as other crimes because they are often not "intentional," as the offender does not mean to harm others. Since the crime is often not premeditated, the sentences are not always as severe.

However, in the case where there is a fatality, especially with prior convictions, it can carry a life sentence.

As for Valdez, his license was suspended, so he wasn't even supposed to be driving that night. It's something prosecutors say they see all too often.

"In these cases, we explain so often, it wasn't really a matter of if that was going to happen with those sets of decisions but when it was going to happen," said Alison Baimbridge, a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Harris County ranks number one in the country when it comes to DUI fatalities. There were 203 DUI fatalities in 2014. In addition to that, Texas is the worst state in the country when it comes to DUI fatalities. In 2014, there were 1,446 DUI fatalities, making up almost 15 percent of all DUI fatalities in the country.

It's a trend that Moreno says has to stop, as she sits, waiting and waiting.

"I'm still waiting for her, for my whole family, my three people. I'm still waiting," said Moreno.

Related Topics:
drunk drivingdrunk driving deathcar accidentSpring
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