Molalla woman and her four children die in head-on collision Sunday evening
A head-on collision that occurred on Sunday evening just south of Brooks resulted in the death of a Molalla woman and her four children as a Gervais man is now being charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence of intoxicants, along with a number of other charges.
Lisette Medrano-Perez, 25, of Molalla, was driving a Buick Century southbound on OR 99E while Favian R. Garcia, 27, of Gervais, was traveling northbound in a Landrover when the two vehicles collided head-on while negotiating a corner.
Medrano-Perez and her four children in the vehicle were all pronounced deceased at the scene. Their ages were: eight (male), six (male), four (female), two (female).
Garcia had minor injuries and was transported to a local area hospital. He is now being held at the Marion County Jail on charges that include five counts of manslaughter, felony driving while under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, misdemeanor driving while suspended, and for an outstanding, unrelated Marion County warrant.
Two of the children were students at Molalla Elementary School, and Molalla River School District Superintendent Tony Mann expressed his sentiments with the community in an email Monday morning.
"Our hearts break in these times, for the loss of these children and for the sadness it brings our community," Mann said. "Please know that we have mobilized our district flight team, and I want to thank those team members for being here at Molalla Elementary to support children and staff."
The flight team is a dedicated team of counselors and other professional support staff that is deployed to the school location to support children and school staff members.
"We know all human beings experience grief in different ways, and we are prepared with multiple counselors to support children in whatever way they need," Mann said in a phone interview Monday morning. "They're also there to provide support to [school] staff ... the staff at MES and the staff across the district are in this business because they love children deeply, and their first role is to support children, but we know that our teachers and staff need support as well, so we've got extra people there to provide that in our situation."
Mann also included in his email a message that was shared with students Monday morning. The names of the two students have been omitted to protect the privacy of the family.
"[Monday] morning we received some sad news. We learned that two [of] our MES students died in a car accident ... It happened near Salem on Sunday afternoon (yesterday).When things like this happen, people have all different kinds of reactions like shock, sadness, fear and anger. These reactions may rise and fall throughout the day, and even for days to come. Some of us will need some quiet time and others may want time to talk with someone. Some of you who didn't know [the two students] may be ready for me to return to normal activities sooner than others. We all just need to practice patience and have respect for each other.Students wanting to make cards for the family, talk with one another, or who need more time alone to think and talk about this may go to Mrs. Bergin's office ... We might remain on our regular schedule, but we may also adjust things too.At MES, we're safe, respectful, and responsible. Today, respectful might mean that we're just a little nicer to each other, that we're saying positive things, and that we're being sensitive about comments we're making about [the students], car accidents, and other stories of loss. Be sensitive of others. Be respectful to our whole MES Family."
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