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3 killed, 6 hurt when SUV crashes in Morris County

August 26, 2013 9:34:14 AM PDT
A New Jersey family is grieving the loss of three relatives, including a young girl and a pregnant woman, after an accident involving a driver who investigators say was drinking.

That driver is also a member of the family.

The crash happened on Route 15 in Jefferson Township Saturday evening. The family members were in an SUV returning from a picnic at Tomahawk Lake when investigators say the vehicle suddenly swerved and left the roadway before overturning, ejecting several of the SUV's nine passengers.

Lucila Colon, 62, and Tevia Booth, 11, died at the scene, while Julissa Colon, 36, died later at a hospital, Morris County prosecutors said. Julissa Colon was five months pregnant, and her fetus didn't survive.

The driver, 37-year-old Luis Torres, and the remaining passengers - all Jersey City residents who ranged in age from 5 to 40 - suffered moderate to serious injuries.

"She was a great person, very sweet, happy person," the victim's sister, Elizabeth Echevarria, said. "Very happy that she was having a baby. And she's my best friend. And she's gone."

Jefferson Township police say Torres admitted he had been drinking beer for most of the day and said he was trying to pass another vehicle when he lost control of the SUV.

Torres is being held on $750,000 cash bail. He's charged with three counts each of aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide and five counts of assault by auto.