WELD COUNTY - A suspected drunk driver who had at least eight prior DUI arrests was involved in a Weld County crash that killed a family and himself.
The two-vehicle crash claimed four lives, including two children, and sent a fifth victim to the hospital. It happened on Highway 85 at Weld County Road 48 Sunday night.
According to investigators, a Honda minivan was traveling northbound on Highway 85 when a Dodge pickup came across the center median and struck the driver's side of the Honda.
The male drivers of both vehicles and the two juveniles in the Honda SUV died in the crash. An adult female, who was in the minivan, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, according to the state patrol.
The pick-up truck driver was identified as Rigoberto Macias-Marquez, 44, from La Salle. The driver of the Honda was identified as Gilbert Martinez, 37, also from La Salle. Ethan Martinez, 6, and Bryson Martinez, 1, died on scene of the crash.
"Gibert was a really beloved man," said Frank Martinez, Gilbert's uncle. "Anybody that he was around, he always made sure that he told them that he loved them and that they knew it."
Mistelle Martinez, 32, survived the crash and was taken to Northern Colorado Medical Center.
Investigators say it is unclear at this time whether the drivers were wearing seat belts or if the children were in car seats.
Macias-Marquez was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. He has had at least eight prior DUI arrests dating back to 1997, according to court records.
"Horrified, just absolutely horrified," Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said. "It's not just the sheer number [of DUI's] but the consequence of him making that awful choice."
Rourke says prosecutors and judges do not have strong enough tools to stop repeat offenders.
"Now may be the time to take a look and see in cases like this, 'do we need additional penalties? Stronger penalties?'" he said.
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