A Lodi man convicted of killing six people in a 2013 DUI crash will spend the rest of his life in prison. Ryan Morales was found guilty of killing a family of six, including an unborn child.
Almost three years have passed, but grieving hearts remain in the Lodi community for the Miranda family who lost their lives at the Ham Lane and Vine Street intersection.
“We all feel that pain in seeing somebody lost like that,” said Barbara Little, a volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
At the time of the crash, the Lodi police chief said that it was not an accident but a horrific event that resulted in six senseless deaths. Witnesses recalled Morales behind the wheel with his cell phone, speeding, running red lights and drunk.
“He also had two prior reckless driving convictions,” said San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Michael Rasmussen.
Only Morales and 9-year-old Eden Miranda survived the crash.
“...to wipe out an entire family it’s just heartbreaking,” Little said.
During his sentencing on Monday, the convicted killer apologized for what happened. A sorry that’s too little, too late for MADD volunteers who know all too well what it’s like to lose loved one to a drunken driver.
"(Morales) wasn’t showing any remorse during this whole trial,” Little said. “You weren’t sorry that day when you were drinking. You weren’t sorry about how you were driving and lives were affected."
A judge ruled Morales would serve at least 15 years to life for each person that died in the collision, a total of at least 98 years.
“Judge Villapudua intended to give a message to the community of San Joaquin County by sentencing Mr. Morales to the maximum that he could receive,” Rasmussen told FOX40.
For the community still saddened by the horrific crash, their only consolation is that Morales will never get behind the wheel again.
“He won’t ever do this to anybody else. He’s not going to make that choice again,” Little said.
Also in court was Morales' mother who did not want to speak with FOX40 and a Miranda family member from Mexico who also did not want to comment.
Morales was ordered to pay for the Miranda family’s funeral and medical costs, according to the district attorney’s office.
Eden is now living out-of-state with family members.