Identities released of pregnant woman, 2 children and man from Pomona killed in crash; GoFundMe established for funeral services

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- A fundraiser was set up Tuesday for a family of four from Pomona who were killed in a horrific crash in Northern California over the weekend.

The victims were identified as Samuel Soto, his girlfriend Alondra Lara and their young children Nicholas and Diego Alexander Soto, according to a relative. Lara was also six months pregnant.

The California Highway Patrol isn't sure yet why the crash on Sunday night occurred as there was no indication of alcohol or drug impairment, and weather was not thought to be a factor.

Only fragments of the wreckage - a taillight, a car seat latch and broken glass - remained scattered on the scene in Merced County near Los Banos on Monday.

"It might have been a little windy, the road might have been wet from a little rain early on, but nobody was having issues," said CHP officer Shannan Stiers. "It appears speed wasn't that big of a deal because witnesses were saying 65 maybe 75 miles an hour."

Witnesses told the CHP that the car was traveling eastbound on State Route 152 weaving slightly and then suddenly veered across the center median, crossed the westbound lane and slammed into a tree.
The impact was so severe that the car was cut in half, officials said. All four occupants were killed instantly.

Lara's heartbroken parents are grieving the loss of their daughter's entire family. Mom Teresa Montez and dad Alejandro Chavez were driving right behind the family when the crash happened.

"It's really dark. (But) I see the lights on the car is coming around like this," Chavez explained.

The whole family was driving from a relative's First Communion in San Francisco back home to Pomona.

Chavez said there's only one indication of something that may have gone wrong. During the day, Soto wasn't feeling well, but he decided to drive home anyway.

When Soto's car started swerving in Merced County - about halfway to home - Chavez didn't know what to do.

Despite everyone wearing a seat belt, the impact of the crash ejected Lara and Diego Alexander.

"When I talked to him, 'Alexander, come on mijo, wake up, nothing," Chavez recalled.

Now, the devastated parents are holding on to the memories of when their daughter learned she was pregnant again.

"I will remember my daughter like that -- really happy," Chavez said.

Find more information on how to donate to the funeral services at gofundme.com.
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