Crash Victim’s Family Protests Fundraiser for DUI Suspect’s Legal Fees

Mario Carranza faces murder charges in the death of C.J. Vargas and Monica Lupercio

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two families stood divided Saturday at a Barrio Logan park over a tragic DUI crash that killed two people last weekend. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala talked with both sides.

     Two families stood divided Saturday at a Barrio Logan park over a tragic DUI crash that killed two people last weekend.

    In Chicano Park, family and friends of DUI suspect Mario Carranza took donations to raise money for his legal defense.

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    Families and friends of the victims killed in a crash in El Cajon over the Easter weekend faced the suspected DUI driver for the first time. Monica Lupercio and CJ Vargas were riding in a car with suspect Mario Carranza when they crashed off the Interstate 8. Only the suspect survived. NBC 7’s Liberty Zabala reports.

    “We will continue to stand by Mario because we love him, because he deserves a fair trial and help, not a lifetime in prison,” said Jesus Mendez, Carranza’s family friend.

    Carranza was charged with murder in the deaths of C.J. Vargas and Monica Lupercio. They were killed when Carranza drove his car off Interstate 8. 

    Prosecutors said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.30 at the time of the crash, so they opted for murder charges due to a prior DUI conviction on Carranza’s record. The suspect also faces vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence charges and has pleaded not guity to all of them.

    As Carranza’s supporters gathered in Chicano Park, Lupercio’s family rallied against the fundraiser right across the street.

    “People who kill innocent people, they’re still able to have a second chance, but my daughter Monica is never going to have a second chance in her life,” said Lupercio’s mother Maribel.

    They said they want Carranza to live with his decision to drive that night for the rest of his life.

    Meanwhile, Carranza’s family said they have set up a memorial page and are planning a benefit concert to raise money for Lupercio’s and Vargas’ funeral costs.