Prosecutor: Blood alcohol level ‘highest seen in years’ in Lancaster crash that killed two cousins
Investigators say 34-year-old Quinton Harris was driving drunk with two children in his backseat. when the crash happened.
LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Rows were packed with family members as a man accused of killing two people while driving drunk in Lancaster faced a judge in court.
The judge denied bond to 34-year-old Quinton Harris, saying he wasn’t a flight risk but is a danger to the community.
Investigators say Harris was driving drunk with two children in his backseat when he allegedly ran a red light and crashed into another car with two men inside.
The two men, cousins 22-year-old Luis Gomez-Roman and 23-year-old Luis Hernandez-Gomez, died at the scene.
Harris was charged with two counts of felony DUI resulting in death and child endangerment.
The families of two men killed in the crash have been pushing for justice, and on Wednesday - they had the opportunity to do so in court.
”I remember it happening like it was yesterday. Exactly yesterday,” family member Roselyn Hernadez said.
Row after row of courtroom A in Lancaster County Courthouse were filled with Luis Gomez-Roman and Luis Hernandez-Gomez’ families as they awaited the fate of the man who allegedly killed them.
”For me I felt really nervous. I felt really numb. It could have gone either way,” family member Luz Casarrubias said.
Casarrubias is the girlfriend of Gomez-Roman, affectionally called Poncho.
The pregnant mother spoke before the judge about Poncho’s unborn child never knowing her father.
”I will spend the rest of her life telling stories about her dad so she knows how loved she is by him,” Casarrubias said.
Several others got up to speak for Poncho and Hernandez-Gomez, affectionally known as Kiko, in hopes of swaying the judge to deny bond.
Some who could not talk wrote a stack of letters.
”I think it’s so unfair this stuff happened to good people and he was such a good person and he didn’t deserve it,” Casarrubias said.
The prosecution shared new details also looking for a bond denial.
The lawyer said Harris had a .32 blood alcohol level, the highest he has seen in his years. He said the victim’s car was wrapped around a utility pole appearing to be split in half.
”We saw the car so we knew like describing it, it sounds bad but seeing it is even worse,” Araina Vincent, the mother of Gomez-Roman’s eldest son, said.
Harris’ lawyer argued all of the evidence in the case was circumstantial and Harris, other than two minor charges, never really got in trouble before.
Harris’ own family, including the mother of the two children who were in the car when this happened, spoke for him.
”He’s a good father to our children. Their faces light up when they see him. Our children need their father in their lives,” the woman said.
The children were taken to a nearby hospital, while Harris was treated for injuries and released back to custody at MUSC Lancaster.
WBTV talked with the family a few days after this happened.
“It’s really sad,” said Giselle Gomez-Roman. “We’re just coping, trying to process everything.”
Giselle Gomez-Roman is the sister of Luis Gomez-Roman.
“We just want justice. Like we said before, we’re not mad at the drunk driver but we do want justice served so another family doesn’t have to go through this pain,” Giselle said.
Even in their pain, the families say they have no ill-will towards Harris.
“We don’t have a grudge towards him. But we do want him to go to prison for what he did,” Giselle said.
Giselle says her brother was a father of a 3-year-old. He and his girlfriend were also expecting another child.
“I mean, just the both of them were really sweet guys. They had lots of people who loved them. They are really going to be missed,” Giselle said.
As each family member leans on each other, the Lancaster community is behind them.
“We are really thankful for the whole community. Because they’ve not only donated but they came to our homes and visited. That helps us while grieving,” Giselle said.
For the families, a denied bond is a step toward justice but does not replace the pain they feel over the loss.
”He should be here making memories with me instead of me having to remember those memories,” Hernandez said.
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