After dating for about two years, Debbie Sumi, 33, got engaged to her boyfriend Larry Alvarez, 34. Alvarez's mother Mary now mourns his death after a tragic crash on Highway 78 in which Sumi is charged with a DUI.
What was meant to be a special night for a young North County couple, ended in tragedy when a woman suspected of driving under the influence caused a car crash that killed three people including her own fiancé.
Just hours after the couple got engaged, they decided to drive to Oceanside to tell their family the good news. The couple never made it.
“Larry loved her very much-He had her on a pedestal along with her the two babies,” said Alvarez’s mother, Mary Escamilla as she wiped away tears.” He was my life. I feel lost.”
Sumi, who was driving with a suspended license, crashed her car into another vehicle along Highway 78 near Sycamore Avenue that Friday, August 13. Her alcohol level was four times the legal limit, prosecutors said.
Susana Orozco, 23, of Escondido and Erica Oliva, 23, of Fallbrook died in the crash. Another two people were injured in the crash.
Her fiancé Alvarez, sitting right next to her in the car, also died in the crash.
“I love her, but she took my son,” cried Alvarez’s mother Mary Escamilla Tuesday, as she sat next Larry’s makeshift memorial.
On Tuesday afternoon, Debbie was arraigned inside the county courthouse in Vista. She walked into the courtroom slowly wearing a body brace and pushing a walker.
She pleaded not guilty to three charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, and wept inconsolably as the charges were read.
“They were always together,” remembered Escamilla. “That was the first night they left the babies with me, so they could go out. They were such a close family. They should have thought about the babies.”
Now Alvarez’s family is trying to make sure his two young daughters grow up knowing their father loved them.
“That’s all we have left of Larry-his two children,” said Nadine. Sumi’s bail was set at $5 million.
For now, her two young children are staying with her sister.
Meanwhile, Larry's family is trying to gather enough money for his funeral. Donations are being accepted.
Larry Alvarez Funeral Fund
Wells Fargo Bank