Although Orange County Teen, Jean Soriano, was cleared in the alcohol-related car accident deaths of five people in Nevada, he still has to answer to criminal charges in Orange County for escaping a juvenile detention facility.
Orange County authorities asked authorities in Nevada to keep Soriano, an 18-year-old, in custody. They wanted him returned so he could face escape charges after the felony charges were dropped in Nevada accusing the teen of being the driver of a Dodge Durango that smashed into a minivan on Interstate 15, about an hour north of Las Vegas, on March 30.
On Monday, Soriano pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges of escaping but Judge Karen L. Robinson set bail at $40,000. A jury trial on the escape charges was set for Aug. 19.
Results from blood tests taken by officials in Nevada showed the Soriano, who was on the run from Orange County, was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He told authorities that he was the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the minivan, but DNA tests on blood found in the vehicle showed the driver was Alfredo Gomez, not Soriano.
Further into the investigation, law enforcement officials and Clark County prosecutors learned that Soriano confessed under threat of intimidation by Gomez, who claimed to be the passenger. Authorities believed that Gomez was the passenger and therefore was not tested for drugs or alcohol. Now, Gomez’s whereabouts are not known.
Killed in the crashed were Genaro Fernandez, 42, of Norwalk; Maria Belen Fernandez, 53, of Lynwood; and Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49, Angela Sandoval, 13, and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45, of East Los Angeles.
Information pertaining to the events that landed Soriano in Orange County’s Youth Guidance Center and how long he was there before his escape on March 1st were not made available to the public.
Last year six employees were fired and another seven were suspended after officials found several security lapses in the Santa Ana Juvenile Hall. Traditionally, the center treats juveniles with substance-abuse problems.
Car accidents also happen in Orange County and most of the people involved in them are not prepared to handle its repercussions. An automotive wreck leads not only to damaged property but it may also lead to people getting hurt who may have to be transported to the hospital. Financially, car collisions can be expensive.
If you are in a car crash, call Dara Khajavi Law Offices at (877) 782-3777 for more information on how to get compensation to cover the damages.