Local News

Man Sentenced in Triple-Fatal DWI Crash

Posted August 14, 2007 11:50 a.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2007 2:07 p.m. EDT

— A Sanford man was sentenced Monday to 48 to 60 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing three people in a drunken-driving wreck last fall.

Pastor Rios Sanchez, 56, pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Meg Hughes, Jennifer Carter and Ben Leonard.

Prosecutors dismissed all other traffic violations against him, including driving while impaired and driving on the wrong side of the highway. Sanchez was also given credit for the 10 months he has already served while awaiting trial.

Hughes, 22, of Summerville, S.C., Carter, 18, of Jacksonville, both students at North Carolina State University, and Hughes' stepbrother, 16-year-old Leonard, were returning to Raleigh from Lee County on Oct. 27 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.