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Driver facing felony charges in deadly Idaho crash

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Police: Family of 4 killed in crash
  • Four members of a California family died in the crash Thursday
  • Police say alcohol is believed to be a factor
  • Victims are mourned by family and friends

See local coverage from CNN affiliate KTVB-TV.

(CNN) -- An Idaho man is facing felony vehicular manslaughter charges in a head-on crash last week that killed four members of a California family, police said.

Eusebio Jacobo Pineda, 45, of Wendell, Idaho, was driving the wrong way on Interstate 84 near Glenns Ferry, Idaho, when his pickup truck slammed into a Mazda four-door sedan driven by Amado Herrera about 8:50 p.m. Thursday, Idaho State Police said.

Herrera, 48, of South El Monte, California, was killed instantly, along with his wife, Luz Herrera, and their children, 18-year-old Ivette and 9-year-old Antoni. Pineda was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, Idaho State Police said Friday, but an account of Pineda's final blood alcohol content was pending test results.

An arrest warrant was issued for Pineda on four counts of felony vehicular manslaughter, Idaho State Police said Friday, and he is to be transported to the Elmore County Jail to await an initial appearance before a magistrate after being released from the hospital. Bond was set at $250,000, according to police.

Pineda's Ford F-150 truck rolled after colliding with Herrera's vehicle, Idaho State Police said. The crash snarled traffic in the westbound lanes of I-84 for four hours. Video from the scene showed the entire front end of the Herreras' car was crushed.

All the Herreras were wearing seat belts, police said. It was not known whether Pineda was wearing a seat belt.

On Saturday, the Herreras' family and friends gathered in El Monte for a vigil in their honor, according to CNN affiliate KTVB-TV. Relatives said the family was headed to a wedding in Idaho when the crash occurred.

Annabelle Sanchez, a niece, said Amado Herrera "was a very hard-working man. He wanted so much to provide for his children."

"I wish a lot of people would've seen them and used them as a role model for what a family should be," said Leo Breonas, a coach on Antoni Herrera's baseball team. His number, 16, is now worn by his teammates on their wrists.

"They were very happy about getting a home," Breonas told KTVB. "And their daughter was going to college. She was going to Riverside [the University of California-Riverside]. So everything seemed to be falling right in place for them. And they were all excited. I mean ... everything was on the positive ... and everything is just crashed today."