A man arrested on suspicion of drunken driving following a deadly wreck that killed two brothers in Chula Vista was arraigned with the victims' grieving relatives looking on.
Enrique Coronado, 31, of San Diego pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter, suspicion of drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
Authorities arrested him following the crash around 11:30 p.m. last Friday. Three brothers were in a Mitsubishi Galant when a GMC pickup slammed into them on Main Street and Brandywine Avenue in Chula Vista, officials said. The crash killed Daniel Spickerman, 18, of Chula Vista. His brother Jason, 16, was declared brain dead. A third brother survived. Rescue crews had to pry the boys out from the wreckage.
Officials said Coronado ran from the crash but returned one hour later for his wallet and was arrested.
Prosecutors said Coronado has one-strike against him -- a robbery conviction. He has also been convicted of selling marijuana and was arrested for immigrant smuggling. The defense attorney said all of those charges are more than eight years old.
The judge ordered Coronado held on $1 million.
Nearly two dozen family members -- both foster relatives and biological relatives -- packed the courtroom for the hearing. Among them, the third brother who survived the wreck.
Foster brother Tino Murguia said, "It was kind of a scary feeling for the first time to see him, but a little bit of relief to know we can put a face with this incident as well. We just loved those kids, they were so happy -- just happy to be around people and so cheery all the time -- so it's really a devastating loss for the whole family."
The boys biological brother Edgar Spickerman said the boys, "had so many dreams, so many goals. All their friends loved them, our family loved them, foster family loved them -- any parent would be proud to have em as little kids."
The organs of the 16-year-old victim were removed for donation at his foster parents' request, according to a published report. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday Jason Spickerman's organs were given to six people including a baby.
"We're very happy he was able to save six lives. He's a hero and that's the way we're going to remember him," said Murguia.
According to the prosecution, Coronado had been drinking in Tijuana that night. They also alleged he was drinking while in line waiting to enter the border crossing. Authorities said he had a 1.5 blood alcohol level when he was arrested.
His preliminary hearing was set for February.