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Lodi police name Ryan Morales as driver witnesses say caused crash that killed six

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Ryan Morales

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 2:03 pm | Updated: 4:41 pm, Fri Oct 25, 2013.

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 krisa@lodinews.com.

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  • John Freitas posted at 7:08 am on Mon, Oct 28, 2013.

    bluenorth Posts: 1

    Another example of the realignment-early release program!

  • Jackson Scott posted at 6:48 pm on Sat, Oct 26, 2013.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 382

    Typical Doug Chaney... The worst traffic accident in the history of our city with SIX DEAD family members and Doug is taking shots at LPD and vaguely floating the possibility of a Good Ol' Boys conspiracy cover-up of the drivers name.

    C'mon Doug, how naive are you? It would take a responding officer 2 minutes to call in to dispatch and run a rap sheet on the driver.

    Due to the nature of the horrific circumstances I'm sure LPD is working very methodically to make sure they don't jump the gun on putting any info out to soon.

    My personal theory is that possibly LPD was speculating that the driver would pass away in the hospital from his major injuries, and then they would release his name. Yet, I find it laughable that while LPD did not release his name one TV station was outside of the house on Mariposa on Wed or Thurs... someone slipped that reporter a tip.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 4:12 pm on Sat, Oct 26, 2013.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2742

    I'm not surprised to find 2 Liberals making such ridiculous and insensitive conclusions.

  • Mike Adams posted at 3:27 pm on Sat, Oct 26, 2013.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    I'm usually not on the police's side, but I think they just wanted to make sure they had all the pieces laid out correctly. I too was wondering why we only heard of the people who were killed and not the others that were part of the accident and injured, but that was released this morning or late yesterday.

    On the plus side for the driver who caused all of this ( unnecessarily bringing sadness and sorry to so many, the deceased as well as injured through absolutely no fault of their own), well, he hasn't got a leg to stand on. Literally. It would have been nice to see the inside of the suburban with the bottoms of both legs still there, but hey, he was only suspected of driving very fast, very drunk, and talking on the cell phone. Good thing we use the needle here in CA. No place to put the lower electrodes on one of their lower legs.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:14 am on Sat, Oct 26, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    They may have been afraid it was one of their own or a well connected stuffed shirt and didn't want to embarrass them too soon.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:13 am on Sat, Oct 26, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    I go for both.

  • John Ring posted at 8:22 am on Sat, Oct 26, 2013.

    frings Posts: 1

    Why did it take LPD 3 days to release the name of 1.) the suspect and 2.) the injured, when the names of the deceased were known almost immediately? Covering up something...or just typical LPD incompetence? Probably both.



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