Three Killed in Placentia Crash; Driver in Custody

Police lights by night

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PLACENTIA (CNS) - A 24-year-old Santa Ana man was in police custody Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence and causing a crash that killed two adults and a 10-year-old girl in Placentia.

Mario Armando Paz Jr., who was being held on $100,000 bail, was booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI, according to Placentia police Sgt. Joe Connell.

The victims who died in the crash were identified as 10-year-old Lucero Lopez of Anaheim, 36-year-old Alberto Vicente Lopez of Anaheim, and 65- year-old Gregoria Ramirez of Placentia, according to Connell.

Placentia Police Department officers responded at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday to the intersection of  Orangethorpe Avenue and South Melrose Street where they learned the driver of a black Honda Civic crashed into the rear of a white van, from which several people were ejected.

Several other vehicles were involved in the crash, authorities said. As many as eight people suffered injuries, ranging from minor to life- threatening, police said.

Three victims were taken to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange with serious injuries and two children were rushed to Children's Hospital Orange County, where Lucero was pronounced dead, police said.

Lopez and Ramirez were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

A church employee was driving the victims home in the van from a Bible study group, Connell said. Police suspect the cause of the crash was DUI- related, the sergeant added.

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