LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) - Sunday, one of the survivors along with dozens of others went back to the crash site where two young girls, 12 and 14, lost their lives early Saturday. Three other passengers are now out of the hospital, two are still in intensive care, and one is in jail.
Prayers were said at the crash site as friends and family released pink and purple balloons, the favorite colors of crash victims 14-year-old Kayla Martinez, and 12-year-old Aleandra Sanchez.
"I was falling asleep and I remember picking up my head and seeing someone hit the steering wheel and then I blacked out," said Alexandria DeLao, 13. DeLao is injured, but survived the crash. Her best friend, Kayla didn't. "Kayla was my best friend since second grade, and we always hung out with each other."
State Police said the girls along with six other passengers in a five-passenger Infiniti were ejected just after 2 a.m. Saturday on I-25 just south of Las Vegas. State Police said the driver, 17-year-old Wayne Lovato lost control, flipped the car, and told officers on scene he'd been drinking before he got behind the wheel.
"With that admission to drinking alcohol, he shouldn't have made that choice to drive," said Jonathan Wright, New Mexico State Police Patrolman.
Lovato is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, DWI, failure to render aid, and two counts of great bodily harm by vehicle.
Also in the car were Rubio Reyes, 21, Briana Sanchez, 13, Kayla Esquibel, 17, and Joseph Martinez, 21, all of Las Vegas, New Mexico.
DeLao said she knew Lovato had been drinking, but that no one expected what happened next. She said she feels her friends Martinez and Sanchez are still with her. "They still wanted me to live, so their spirits helped me out of the car," she told KRQE News 13.
Classmates, friends and family met at the crash site Sunday to remember the two young lives lost in the crash. "She was a really loving and caring person, she was always there if you needed her," said Anjelika Maestas, friend of Aleandra Sanchez.
"She was very outgoing, she loved life, she lived it to the max," recalled Dora Trevizo, cheerleading partner, and close friend of Kayla Martinez. "It hurts me because he's 17 years old, he knew he had younger kids and he still took the kids."
The girls' friends have a message for others. "Don't go with a drunk driver, its a big risk," said Alycia Lucero, 14, friends with Martinez. "I mean you may think its fun but in reality you don't know what could happen."
"Nobody wanted this to happen, they were both two amazing girls," added Maestas.
Police said speed and reckless driving were also a factor. They're also investigating how the 17-year-old driver was able to get alcohol, and more charges are possible.
Lovato was released from the hospital Sunday, and is booked at the Juvenile Detention Center in Santa Fe. According to police, the passengers in the car ranged from age 12 to 22. It's unclear if all of them had been drinking too. DeLao only said they had all been hanging out at one of the victim's home before the crash.
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