A suspected illegal alien from Mexico is being held in the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $500,000 after running a red light and broadsiding a family of six, killing three, on Christmas Eve.
Carlos Prieto was arraigned this morning and charged with three counts of automobile homicide, three counts of driving under the influence and driving without a license. The charging documents say his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, KSL-TV of Salt Lake City, reported.
The Ceran family, active in local theater and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were returning home after attending a performance of Dickens’s “The Christmas Carol,” which featured several family members, when their car was struck by a truck driven by Carlos Prieto.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the police affidavit filed at the jail said Prieto smelled strongly of alcohol and had glassy, bloodshot eyes at the accident scene and admitted he had been drinking prior to driving that night. Jail records indicate Prieto has at least two previous drunken driving arrests.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency has interviewed Prieto and suspects he is in the U.S. illegally but declined to reveal what he told investigators.
Gary Ceran has said he is leaning on his faith to deal with this tragedy and to extend forgiveness to Prieto.
“He has to endure all the pain that I have to endure, plus knowing that he was the cause of it,” says Ceran. “I have hundreds of people coming to visit and thousands of people praying for me. But who’s praying for him?”