3 killed, 6 hurt when SUV crashes in northern NJ

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Associated Press

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 25 at 11:35 PM

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A pregnant woman and a child were among three people killed in an SUV crash that left six others injured in northern New Jersey, authorities said Sunday.

The crash happened Saturday night on Route 15 near an intersection in Jefferson Township. Investigators said the vehicle suddenly swerved and left the roadway before overturning, ejecting several passengers.

Lucila Colon, 62, and Tevia Booth, 11, died at the scene, while Julissa Colon, 36, died later at a hospital, Morris County prosecutors said. Julissa Colon was five months pregnant, and her fetus didn't survive.

Colon's sister, Elizabeth Echevarria, told The Star-Ledger of Newark all three deceased victims were members of the same family. Lucila Colon was Booth's grandmother, Echevarria said.

The SUV's driver, 37-year-old Luis Torres of Jersey City, was being held Sunday on $750,000 cash bail. He's charged with three counts each of aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide and five counts of assault by auto.

Jefferson Township police say Torres told them he and his passengers had attended a family gathering that day in Sussex County and were on their way home when the crash occurred. They say Torres admitted he had been drinking beer for most of the day and said he was trying to pass another vehicle when he lost control of the SUV.

He also allegedly told police he was driving along unfamiliar roads and relying on his GPS, the Star-Ledger reported.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Torres had an attorney.

Torres and the remaining passengers — all Jersey City residents who ranged in age from 5 to 40 — suffered moderate to serious injuries.

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