A survivor of a triple fatal car accident in Oceanside says he’s distraught over losing the love of life.
Rey David Velasco Herrera, 43, was the driver of a car that was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Oceanside Blvd and S. Coast Highway last Tuesday.
The accident killed Herrera’s wife, 40-year-old Petra Arango, as well as his wife’s sister and mother. Herrera, his 13-year-old daughter, and Arango’s father were injured in the crash.
Herrera said nothing can replace his wife of two decades.
“Twenty years we were married happily,” he said. “I would never trade her for anything in the world. She was the greatest mother, greatest daughter to her mom. She was everything, basically, the anchor of the home.”
Police said the driver of the truck, 19-year-old Mason Fish failed to stop at a red light before slamming into the driver’s side of Herrera’s Mazda.
The impact of the crash was so great that Herrera’s daughter, who was riding unrestrained, was ejected from the vehicle.
The teenager was released from the hospital the day after the crash.
“I haven’t seen her cry. She’s one strong little girl,” Herrera said. “That, she got from her mom. She’s a fighter all the way through. She’s a very strong individual in life.”
Herrera said he has no memory of the accident. He was released from the hospital over the weekend and is now recovering from a concussion and lacerated spleen.
“I’m trying to piece everything together, but it’s hard. It’s my memory trying to circle and figure everything out,” he said. “There’s no words that can ever bring her back. It’s just heartbreaking to me that I had to lose such a wonderful person in my life.”
Fish, is now free after posting $800,000 bond. Prosecutors say 1.6 grams of cocaine was found in his wallet at the time of the crash, but his defense attorneys claim toxicology tests will prove he wasn’t under the influence.
The news of his freedom has upset Herrera and his family.
“It’s just shocking to me, basically, to have somebody like that, that negligent to be out on the road and takes all of those lives, and he’s enjoying it now, he’s out, enjoying life with his family and we’re distraught trying to piece ours together,” Herrera said.
Fish was also driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. He pleaded not guilty to four felony charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, and three non-felonies.
“He destroyed three families at one time. It’s horrific. It’s not right. It’s hard to take in,” said Herrera.