Gervais man accused of manslaughter following five-fatality crash
UPDATED Oct. 10 at 11:40 a.m. to reflect updated information from Oregon State Police
A Gervais man is facing manslaughter charges after being involved in a two-vehicle crash on Sunday afternoon north of Salem that resulted in the death of a Molalla mother, her three children and her niece.
Favian Rene Garcia, 27, was driving northbound in a Land Rover on Oregon 99E when his car collided head-on into a vehicle traveling southbound, resulting in the five fatalities.
Lizette Medrano-Perez, 25, from Molalla, was the driver of the other vehicle, a Buick Century. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her three children and her niece, who were passengers in her car, were also pronounced dead at the scene. (The original information released by Oregon State Police spelled her name "Lisette." That has since been corrected.)
The children were 8-year-old Ivan Ricardo Medrano-Contreras (who went by Ricardo), 6-year-old Andrus Medrano-Contreras, 4-year-old Dayanara Medrano-Perez and 2-year-old Angelina Vazquez-Crisp.
Oregon State Police news releases originally stated that Lizette Medrano-Perez was the mother of the four children. Lizette Medrano-Perez was the temporary legal guardian of Angelina and investigators have been told that Angelina was her niece.
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.
The crash occured one mile north of Salem at the intersection of Oregon 99E and Nevada Street at about 4:41 p.m. According to Oregon State Police, the crash occurred while the vehicles were navigating a corner.
Garcia sustained minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital on Sunday.
Oregon State Police announced Monday morning that Garcia has been arrested on five counts of first-degree manslaughter, one count of driving while under the influence of intoxicants, one count of reckless driving and one count of driving while suspended.
Garcia has been convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants before — he pleaded guilty to one count of DUII in 2011.
He is currently lodged at the Marion County Jail.
Garcia is also held on unrelated Marion County warrants, stemming from charges filed earlier this year.
In May this year, Garcia was accused of three counts of interference with making a report. Allegedly, he intentionally hindered someone from making an emergency call.
According to court records, he was arrested and granted a recognizance release from jail on July 2.
And in July this year, Garcia was accused of driving under the influence of intoxicants, failure to perform the duties of a driver and reckless driving, crimes that allegedly occurred on July 2. He was arrested in August and was granted a conditional release, according to court records.
He was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges from both of those cases on Aug. 28, but he failed to appear at that court appearance.
His next court date for all of the charges is an arraignment on Oct. 10 at 3 p.m.
First-degree manslaughter is an Oregon Measure 11 crime with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
Anyone with witness information who has not spoken with police is encouraged to call the Oregon State Police at 800-452-7888.
Oregon State Police responded to the scene of the collision and have received assistance from the Marion County Sheriff's Office, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Keizer Police Department, the Marion County Fire District and the Marion County DA's office.
Conner Williams of the Molalla Pioneer contributed reporting