What Happened During the Incident
For many, Halloween is a holiday that gives families the opportunity to create long-lasting memories. Parents dress up with their children in inventive costumes and go trick-or-treating around their neighborhoods all in good fun. Unfortunately, while the Awaida family was partaking in these fun-packed traditions, tragedy hit.
Around 10 p.m. on October 31st, an SUV struck the family of three–30-year-old Joseph Awaida, 32-year-old Raihan Awaida, and their 3-year-old son Omar Awaida–while they were walking home from a relative’s Halloween gathering. The allegedly intoxicated Carlo Navarro failed to negotiate a curve and drove onto the sidewalk traveling 71 miles per hour in Long Beach, California.
Unfortunately, Joseph Awaida passed away the following morning due to the critical injuries he sustained from the crash. His wife and son succumbed to injuries over the next two days. At the scene of the crime, Long Beach police arrested Navarro on suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter. Navarro’s lawyer, Bryan Schroeder, stated that his client’s blood alcohol level was likely below the federal limit to legally drive at the time of the incident. It rose to 0.11 a few hours following the collision, after Navarro indulged in some alcohol after the crash. Then, his levels eventually declined to 0.07.
Navarro paid a bond of $100,000 and was released the following night. However, he was booked again on November 7th on two counts of manslaughter to which he pleaded not guilty. This time around, the DA’s office requested the young Long Beach resident be held with no option of bail. To bring solace to the grieving victim’s family, the prosecutor requested Navarro be convicted of all three charges against him and face the maximum sentence of 45 years to life in prison. If acquitted of murder, he very well could still face up to ten years of jail time–a lesser charge of vehicular manslaughter–as opposed to fifteen years to life for murder.
Since then, Amor Potestades Amacio has been arrested on suspicion of selling alcohol to underage Carlo Navarro at Green Diamond Liquor, since the alcohol possibly contributed to the untimely deaths of the Awaida family. Amacio is being held on $100,000 bail. Her store could possibly have its alcoholic beverage license suspended or revoked entirely if the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control seeks disciplinary action. According to the Long Beach police, the department intends to.
The Awaida family members are grateful that the justice system is seeking to take the allegations very seriously. In response, Joseph Awaida’s aunt Cecilia Ramos released a concise heart-wrenching statement expressing, “the only thing we feel is sadness.” Someone set up a GoFundMe page on the behalf of the Awaida family to help cover funeral and medical expenses. The total amount clocked in at over $230,000.
As the situation further develops, more information will be made available.