23 Aug 2014
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Accused Drunken Driver Indicted for Deaths of 3 Family Members

Jersey City man claimed he was 'probably twice the legal limit' when his SUV flipped on Route 15 last summer.

Accused Drunken Driver Indicted for Deaths of 3 Family Members
A Jersey City man who was allegedly drunk when he flipped his SUV and killed three family members last summer on Route 15 was indicted Thursday on numerous charges.

Luis E. Torres, 37, is accused of causing the deaths of his mother-in-law, Lucila Colon, 62, Julissa Colon, 36, and her unborn baby, and his stepdaughter, Tevia Booth, 11, when his 2002 Ford Explorer flipped over in Jefferson after a day of drinking at Lake Tomahawk on Aug. 24, 2013, according to an arrest affidavit.

Torres was indicted Thursday on three counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, three counts of second-degree vehicular homicide, one count of third-degree assault by auto, five counts of fourth-degree assault by auto and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

Torres also faces several motor vehicle violations, including driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

According to an arrest affidavit, Torres told authorities he was "probably twice the legal limit" when he got behind the wheel of the Explorer—carrying eight other passengers including three children—to drive home from Sparta on Aug. 24.

Torres said he was unfamiliar with the area and was speeding on Route 15 as he approached a slower-moving vehicle in the right lane, the affidavit said. Torres said he swerved into the left lane but admitted he "was going too fast" and lost control of the SUV, the affidavit said.

A witness who was driving behind Torres observed the SUV "apply its breaks, turn sharply to the left and begin to roll," according to the affidavit.

The SUV flipped and ejected some of the passengers, killing three and injuring five others.

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