Lodi police on Friday identified 28-year-old Ryan Christopher Morales of Lodi as a suspect in a horrific crash that killed six members of a local family this week.
Morales was released from prison in September following a conviction for evading police, according to Lodi Police Lt. Sierra Brucia.
While Morales hasn’t been arrested, police believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash Tuesday evening at the intersection of Ham Lane and Vine Street, according to Brucia.
Morales is being treated at a local hospital, where he’s listed in critical condition.
Brucia said that Morales was released from prison on Sept. 3 after serving time for evading police. Morales, who was arrested in Alameda County, is currently on post-release community supervision.
According to a search warrant obtained Friday, officers said they arrived on the scene of the collision and found Morales pinned inside a 2002 GMC Yukon, smelling of alcohol.
Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, investigators served a search warrant at Morales’ home on the 1400 block of Mariposa Way.
Morales’ mother, Tracy Morales, 56, told investigators Ryan Morales and his father had been drinking an hour and a half before the crash, according to the report.
During the search, investigators confiscated three empty 750 ML bottles of UV Apple Vodka, according to the report. Morales’ father told investigators that his son brought home one 750 ML bottle of the apple-flavored vodka at 4 p.m. and both men proceeded to finish the bottle, the report said.
Investigators also seized Morales’ cellphone, in order to determine if any phone calls or text messages were made prior to the crash.
The vehicle Morales was driving during the crash is registered to Les Moser, 78, of Lodi. According to Moser’s daughter Alisa Moser, Tracy Morales is Les Moser’s caregiver. Alisa Moser said Ryan Morales lived in a camper in the driveway, and took Les Moser’s SUV without permission.
The accident, which occurred Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., involved five vehicles and left six people dead and several others injured.
The dead include siblings Stephanie Miranda, 4, Jose Luis Miranda, 5, Irving Miranda, 11; and their parents Luis Miranda, 32, and Vivian Rodriguez, 31, who was pregnant. The family was driving a 1998 Ford F1-250 pickup.
First grader Eden Miranda, 9, is the only family member to survive. During a press conference at the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento on Friday afternoon, Eden Miranda’s uncle said the boy has been upgraded from critical to stable condition.
Others who were injured included Antonio Vasquez Romero, 59, of Lodi, as well as three juvenile passengers in his 2001 Suzuki XL-7. All were treated and released for minor injuries. Anthony Fuso, 54, of Lodi, who was driving a 1988 Chevrolet 2500 pickup complained of minor pain.
Maria Sosa, 54, of Lodi, who was driving a 2003 Ford Windstar was uninjured.
On Friday, Tracy Morales told the Lodi News-Sentinel that Ryan Morales is in the hospital and “not doing well.”
She declined to comment to the newspaper on whether her son was drinking prior to the crash.
Lodi police will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday at Hutchins Street Square to provide and update and additional details of the investigation.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.