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Teen allowed free in DUI crash that killed five

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Updated: 7/11/2013 11:13 pm
MOAPA (KSNV & MyNews3) -- A teen spent three and a half months in custody for a crime he didn't' commit and was vilified for a drunken driving crash that killed five family members.

However, a judge has tossed out the case because evidence showed the young man was never behind the wheel. Here's News 3's Elizabeth Donatelli with more information.

This isn't Jean Soriano's first time inside a Moapa court. Family and friends of the victims who died Easter weekend have been to hearings too.

"The way it happened it’s terrible,” said Mark Bracamontes, a cousin of the victims. “It hurts me inside."

But the one Wednesday afternoon was different.

“There were some witnesses who testified at the preliminary hearing that indicated they could hear arguing outside the vehicle after the crash and some of the things they said was ‘well I wasn't the driver, well yes you were, fool.’ that sort of thing,” said attorney Frank Cofer.

Attorney frank Cofer and partner Ben Durham argued that their client wasn't behind the wheel.

“Jean’s blood was in fact found on the passenger’s side of the vehicle,” Durham said.

But here's the thing, Soriano told police he was the driver.
On March 30 Soriano hitched a ride with Alford Gomez to Las Vegas but crashed along the way.

His attorneys said Soriano was intimated and coerced by Gomez Soriano to tell police he was the driver. However, Nevada Highway Patrol didn't swab or give Gomez a DNA test.

“Well I think that NHP certainly could have done a better job investigating the evidence. There’s no question though that even though he was intoxicated and frightened, our client Jean Soriano does bear some responsibility for making the initial false statement,” Cofer said

Even so, the case is over for Soriano who will be leaving the Clark County Detention Center.

“He’s pretty quiet. Although he didn’t say it, there was obviously a great sense of relief that obviously justice was done and the case dismissed,” Durham said.



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