Local teen, two others killed in wreck

Teen’s cousin charged in deaths

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]


RALEIGH — A Newton Grove teenager was one of three people killed Sunday morning in a single-vehicle wreck in Raleigh, for which the driver is now behind bars.

At approximately 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Raleigh Police Department officers were dispatched to a single-vehicle wreck near the intersection of Highwoods Boulevard and Poplarwood Court. According to police reports, a 1995 Isuzu SUV being driven by Jaciel Espino-Montes, 22, of Stevens Mill Road, Goldsboro, had six other passengers in it as it traveled on Highwoods Boulevard early Sunday morning.

The vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, about 1,000 feet northwest of Capital Boulevard heading toward Atlantic Avenue. The vehicle over-corrected, traveling across the roadway and running off the left side of the road, where it struck a light pole, street sign and a tree then overturned.

The vehicle was traveling 50 mph at impact. That portion of road had an authorized speed limit of 35 mph.

Two passengers were ejected during the wreck, including Tomas Rivera Jr., 18, of 607 Mount Olive Drive, Newton Grove, and Pau Bautista, 22, of Church Road, Benson. Both were killed, along with Nelson Darinel Velazquez, 21, of Dory Circle, Dudley.

Espino-Montes, Flo Ruby Juarez, 15, of the same Benson address as Bautista, and Anuar Ramirez, 21, of Karen Circle, Goldsboro, were all transported by Wake County EMS to Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. Juarez’s injuries were listed as the most severe of the survivors — a code used by Highway Patrol lists Juarez’s injuries as “disabling” — which also included Jennifer Diana Ayala of Mount Olive, who turned 18 on Monday. Ayala, Ramirez and Espino-Montes all sustained “evident” but non-life-threatening injuries, reports state. Ayala is not listed as receiving treatment.

Ayala was reportedly seated in the lap of Rivera, who was seated in the rear middle seat. Neither were wearing seat belts. Juarez and Bautista were also not restrained.

Following the wreck, Espino-Montes was charged with three counts of aggravated felony death by motor vehicle, three counts of aggravated serious injury by motor vehicle and driving while impaired.

“The incident remains under investigation,” the Raleigh Police Department said in a statement.

Reports are that the driver Espino-Montes and Rivera were cousins. Rivera reportedly attended Hobbton High School. It was not immediately known whether anybody else in the vehicle was related.

Espino-Montes was placed in the Wake County Detention Center under $750,000 secured bond for the charges against him.

Teen’s cousin charged in deaths

By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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