Driver in Deadly Crash Still Not Arraigned

A memorial will be held for the victims on the same day Venegas will be arraigned

By Artie Ojeda
|  Monday, Jan 11, 2010  |  Updated 10:20 AM PDT
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Pregnant Woman, Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver

Artie Ojeda

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Pregnant Woman, Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver

Her family was planning her baby shower. Now they're planning her funeral.
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Arraignment was postponed a third time for a man accused of killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child in a New Year's Day accident.

Joseph Venegas ,40,  is accused of getting behind the wheel drunk early Jan.1 and crashing into a car on the shoulder of Interstate 805 near Home Avenue in Webster.

Elaina Ortiz, 21 and six months pregnant, was sitting inside a Mazda sedan, waiting for roadside assistance for a friend with a flat tire. Just before 10 a.m., Venegas in his Chevy Tahoe SUV veered off the highway and hit the car killing Ortiz and her unborn child. Carol Silva, 20, and Ivan Martinez, 24, were seriously hurt in the crash.

Venegas was treated at the hospital and released into sheriff's custody and arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving.

On Monday, Venegas arraignment was postponed for a third time because the defendant remains in medical isolation.

Joseph Venegas' mother, Juanita Venegas, said her 40-year old son is a good man who rarely went out. She said Joseph even asked permission to go out the night before the crash, since he was his parents' caregiver.

On Thursday a somber crowd gathered at the Paradise Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in National City.

Elaina's casket was adorned with beautiful flowers, while pictures of her smiling, lit up the church.

Elaina's father could barely put his grief into words. " I just can't believe it. This is the worst day of my life,"said Wilfredo Velez, "and it will never be the same again."

Meanwhile, the family was livid with Venegas who, did not show up for his arraignment Wednesday and Friday because of medical reasons.

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