Father in fatal Northeast crash admitted to drinking before driving that night, police say

Local News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The father that is accused of killing his three children in a crash last week admitted to drinking three beers before driving, court documents state. Those beers were Tall Boys, or 24oz cans.

According to a complaint affidavit, 28-year-old Juan Angel Loera had a blood alcohol content between 0.096 and 0.098, above the legal limit of 0.08, on Sept. 20, the night of the fatal accident that killed three of his children, who were not strapped into a car seat or booster.

Loera faces three counts of murder and two counts of intoxication assault. He was arrested Thursday, after a funeral was held for his children, 1-year-old Celeste Ariane Loera, 5-year-old Gustavo Alfredo Loera and 6-year-old Juan Angel Loera Jr.

Two other children, a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old, sustained life-threatening injuries in the crash.

The court documents state that a responding officer said they could smell the faint odor of alcohol coming from Loera and that Loera had bloodshot eyes after the crash and a deep cut on his forehead.

The officer then proceeded to conduct a field sobriety test on Loera, which he failed, according to court documents. The officer then arrested Loera.

According to the documents, Loera waived his Miranda rights and stated that the family was in a red 2001 Ford Expedition SUV when they went to buy hamburgers. On the way home, he also stopped to buy six beers.

Heading home, Loera was at a stop sign at the corner of Howard Street and Titanic Avenue. He said, according to the court documents, that he saw headlights to his right coming at a distance. Believing he could cross the street safely, he drove into the intersection.

Once he realized that that he would not be able to beat the oncoming vehicle, Loera sped up to try to avoid a collision. He was not able to pass the other vehicle, a black Lincoln LS, that was traveling at a high-speed, and it T-boned Loera’s Expedition, according to the documents.

The Expedition then hit a rock wall and a community post office box and came to a rest along the south curb of Titanic.

Documents state police officers described Loera as highly emotional while providing the field interview.

Police arrested the other driver, 18-year-old Luis Javier Ortega, who is accused of speeding and fleeing the scene.

Ortega was charged with three counts of accident involving death and two counts of accident involving serious bodily injury.

Court documents state that Ortega was identified as the driver of the Lincoln through a Crime Stoppers tip, as well as a witness who recognized Ortega as one of the four people who fled the scene after the crash.

The documents state one of the 16-year-old passengers from the Lincoln told police in a video statement details from the crash that only an occupant in the Lincoln would know. The passenger also told investigators they all were aware of the deaths of the children in the crash.

The passenger said they discussed the crash with the driver and the two other occupants and they suggested going to police to report their involvement in the crash.

Investigators spoke with witnesses from the scene, according to documents, who told them they saw the four occupants in the Lincoln run away.

The witness told officers they recognized one of the people who ran away as a former classmate and also identified one of the persons fleeing the scene as Ortega.

Loera’s bonds total to more than $3.7 million dollars while Ortega’s total $1.5 million.

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