An Oregon mother and four children died in a collision with a driver who was allegedly drunk and had previously been convicted for driving while intoxicated.
Lisette Medrano Perez, 25, was killed along with her three children and one who is believed to have been her niece, when driver Favian Garcia collided head-on with her car on Oct. 8 in Salem, according to the Daily Mail. Garcia was reported to be intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Perez and the four children, aged 8, 6, 4 and 2, were pronounced dead at the scene. Garcia, 27, had minor injuries from the crash.
Garcia was arrested for reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, five counts of manslaughter, and other outstanding warrants. He is reportedly being held without bail.
The man is also reported to have pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants in 2011. He was also arrested for a DUI in July, when he allegedly hit an empty car before fleeing.
"It was so surreal," said Perez's longtime friend, Maria Segoviano, reports KGW. "It was like I was in shock. I just couldn't take it all in, especially all five of them, all in one hit, wiped out. I just couldn't believe it."
"She was such a loving mother," Segoviano added. "She was very outgoing, charismatic, and she always had this smile on her face."
"They were so amazing," Segoviano said of the children. "Every morning they would come and give me a hug."
"They were amazing children," she continued. "So I mean that says it all if they came and gave hugs in the morning. They're going to be truly missed."
"It's amazing how much you can lose in one second," said Segovia. "So try to live your life to the fullest."
"I'm kind of in shock, I still can't believe it," said family friend Mercedes Gutierrez, according to KATU. "I can't stop thinking about it. I just feel for my friend."
Gutierrez added that she feared that the victims of the crash would be friends or family when she heard the news.
"Automatically, something just told me that maybe I would know who it was going to be," she said.
"[She was smiley, cute] ... There was not a time when I saw that little girl unhappy," said Gutierrez of the 2-year-old girl, Angelina. "They are so little, so young still."
Two of the children were students at Molalla Elementary School. Molalla River School District Superintendent Tony Mann said that staff would be there for kids and teachers affected by the tragedy.
"We had a number of children right away with broken hearts needing extra support," said Mann. "So I'm grateful that we had the additional counselors there to support them."