A San Antonio woman and three young boys died Monday in one of the worst alcohol-related traffic accident in recent years. Another boy is on life support at University Hospital after the single-car crash.
The driver, 35 year-old Larry William Demers, was booked by proxy at the hospital on three counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault in the fatal crash, which occurred around 12:30 a.m. near Five Palms Drive in San Antonio. A police spokesman said one of the intoxication assault charges will be upgraded to intoxication manslaughter.
Demers, who goes by the aliases Albert Rodriguez, Albert Vega Rodriguez and Casper Rodriguez III, was also arrested for a probation violation charge stemming from a 2011 charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Demers has a rap sheet that includes arrests on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and resisting arrest. Last year, he was granted six years of adjudicated probation on a drug possession charge. He then tested positive for cocaine or marijuana four times. Records show that after failing a drug test in March, he skipped a probation appointment and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Police initially released the names of the victims and said all were members of one family – a mother, a father and their four children. But officials asked the media late Monday to withhold the names because they were unsure of the victims’ identities. “Due to the lack of cooperation of the suspect, we are still attempting to confirm identifications.” a police statement read.
According to police Sgt. Javier Salazar, Demers was driving a Honda Civic west of Medina Base Road with the woman in the front seat and the four boys – ages 2, 3, 5 and 12 – in the back seat. He was speeding, and lost control of the car. “He went off-road and skidded sideways into a bulldozer on the side of the road in a construction zone.”
The 31 year-old woman and the two youngest boys were pronounced dead at the scene. Police report states both children were wearing lap belts, and one had a chest restraint as well. It remains unclear if the older boys had been properly restrained in the car. The other boys were taken to University Hospital, where the 5-year-old was pronounced dead by the Bexar County medical examiner’s office around 3:15 p.m. Monday.
According to public records, the car that Demers was driving is registered to his wife of six years, 31 year-old Roxanna Mendoza Demers. Attempts to reach relatives of Demers’ wife were unsuccessful. Demers’ stepmother, who declined to be identified, said the family wasn’t ready to talk about the crash. “It’s just a very difficult situation with everything going on; it’s such a hard thing to go through,” she said, adding that she planned to visit Demers in jail today.
“It’s devastating,” said Samuel Aguirre, traffic safety specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation in San Antonio. “People need to be responsible; we cannot enforce everything. It could have been anybody. Unfortunately, it was this family with innocent children. My heart goes out to them.”