Local News

Judge Questions Bond For Man Charged In Fatal Accident

Posted October 30, 2006

— A judge on Monday questioned whether the bond should be raised for a man charged with killing three people in a drunken-driving accident Friday.

Pastor Rios Sanchez, 55, of Sanford, remains in the Lee County Jail on a $75,000 bond. He is charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and having an open container of alcohol in his car.

Meg Hughes, 22, of Summerville, S.C., Jennifer Carter, 18, of Jacksonville, N.C., both students at North Carolina State University, and Hughes' stepbrother, 16-year-old Ben Leonard, were returning to Raleigh from Lee County Friday evening when a 1999 Dodge Intrepid crossed the center line on N.C. Highway 42 about five miles east of Sanford, authorities said.

The Intrepid collided head-on with Hughes' 1990 Toyota Corolla station wagon, killing Hughes and Carter instantly. Leonard died during surgery at Central Carolina Hospital, authorities said.

Last year, Sanchez pleaded guilty to driving without a license.

District Judge Donald L. Boone questioned why Sanchez' bond was set at $75,000, considering the charges he faces.

"The bond doesn't sound high enough to me," Boone said. "That's going to be up to another judge who will hear that. Sounds like a really low bond."

The lawyer representing Sanchez for his initial court appearance said the deaths should be treated as an accident, not a crime.

Sanchez is due back in court Nov. 15.

A memorial service for Carter was held Monday in Jacksonville. A memorial service for Hughes and Leonard is scheduled for Tuesday at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church in Raleigh.

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