Grandmother of 10 killed in head-on collision in Merced County

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Action News has learned new details about a grandmother killed in a suspected DUI crash. (KFSN)

The victim's own grandson was following just a few yards behind her and saw everything from his car.
Action News has learned new details about a grandmother killed in a suspected DUI crash.

Family members said Elena Maciel-Garcia was killed in the head-on collision late Wednesday. Authorities said she was killed instantly and the suspect accused of causing the crash while drunk has been in trouble for driving under the influence before.

Heartbroken pleas from Maciel-Garcia's family members are a painful reminder of accidents that should never happen. The 67-year-old grandma of 10 was crushed on Highway 140 after authorities said a suspected DUI driver smashed into her car-- head-on.

That driver, 29-year-old Victor Garcia Santos, had a suspended license and a previous DUI conviction. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke was the first person to find him at the crash.

"When I checked on him, the guys speedometer was stuck at 100 miles per hour. So I'm thinking, at the point of impact he was doing 100 miles per hour when he hit the front end of that other car."

Warnke said the victim's own grandson was following just a few yards behind her and saw everything from his car. The grandson was able to swerve out of the way-- but his grandmother had no chance to swerve.

"It's not like a meteorite fell out of the sky. It was the senseless act of somebody else, careless act, and mindless," said Warnke.

Authorities said after the suspect is released from the hospital he faces felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter charges.
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