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Driver charged with DWI in Raleigh crash that killed 3

Posted August 21
Updated August 22

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— Three people were killed Sunday morning in a single-car crash near the intersection of Highwoods Boulevard and Poplarwood Court in Raleigh.

Authorities said that Jaciel Espino-Montes, 22, was traveling on Highwoods Boulevard at about 2:30 a.m. when he swerved to the right, overcorrected and veered off the left side of the road, striking a light pole, a street sign and a tree before the vehicle overturned.

Two passengers were ejected from the vehicle. Authorities said there were seven people inside the car, and one woman was sitting on the lap of another passenger in the back seat.

Nelson Velazquez, 21, of Dudley, Tomas Rivera, 18, of Newton Grove, and Pau Bautista, 22 of Benson, were killed in the crash. The other three passengers were taken to a nearby hospital with injuries.

Rivera's parents, Tomas Rivera and Belen Espino, said he was a cousin of Espino-Montes.

When they got the call that their son was in an accident, Rivera and Espino drove to the hospital hoping for the best.

“As soon as he saw the man with the Bible, he had a bad feeling,” said a translator speaking for the elder Tomas Rivera.

Espino said her last time communicating with her son was in a text message just hours before he died.

“He said, ‘I’m fine. I’m here eating,’ and that was the last of it,” she said.

Espino said detectives told her that her son died instantly.

Espino-Montes, of 3652 Stevens Mill Road in Goldsboro, is charged with three counts of aggravated felony death by motor vehicle, three counts of aggravated serious injury by motor vehicle and driving while impaired. He was being held under $750,000 bond Sunday night and was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.

The incident remains under investigation.


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  • Jeffrey Derry Aug 22, 2:15 p.m.
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    You begin to lose your country when you lose your language, border and culture

  • Arinzo Williams Aug 22, 1:26 p.m.
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    It's amazing how someone can relate the tragic loss of life to there status as a citizen? I wonder what made JD wonder that? Could it be the last name?
    I wonder if JD asked the same question of the under aged, caucasian drunk driver standing trial for killing three people while driving on the wrong side of the highway? A tragedy is a tragedy period.

  • Jeffrey Derry Aug 22, 8:51 a.m.
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    Here legally?

  • Marie Brandsdorfer Aug 21, 11:07 p.m.
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    Praying for the families.
    This is one horrible nightmare for them all.

  • Russell Chapman Aug 21, 10:48 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    What difference does it make?