Driver tried to stop suspected DUI driver before he killed three sisters

FRESNO, Calif.

Jennie Monreal, Josephine Contreras and Delores Rodriguez were all wearing their seat belts, and in a car going the speed limit, but investigators say it didn't matter when a drunk driver in a minivan hit them head on. But that wasn't the only car hit.

The surviving of the four sisters is in fair condition at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. Action News has learned another driver involved in this crash tried to stop the suspect after he struck her minivan, moments before the deadly crash.

The damage to a Toyota minivan is a difficult reminder to one Sanger woman that she too could have been killed by a suspected drunk driver this weekend. The woman talked with Action News Monday night, with the help of her daughter. She asked that we not identify her.

"After it happened," the woman's daughter translated. "She just got really scared and afraid of him."

The woman says she was approaching Belmont on McCall when the suspected drunk driver, Tranquilino Figueroa, took a wide turn and sideswiped her van.

"So that was when she drove past Belmont to make a U-turn to see if she could obtain any kind of information from his license plate," the woman's daughter said. "When she got back she realized he was gone."

By the time she drove up the street she found the deadly crash. The CHP says Figueroa had already crashed into a car, killing three of the four sisters on-board.

Investigators say Figueroa's blood-alcohol was far above the legal limit. Action News has learned Figueroa missed a court appearance Friday on his second DUI. CHP officers say he was driving on a suspended license.

"What we're interested in is where he was drinking, who he was drinking with him, was he at a particular establishment," said CHP officer Dave Paris.

Figueroa's family is distraught over the loss of life. "We are all still in shock," said Sergio Cortes, the suspect's step-son. "We are all still recovering from what has happened, and we just ask people to pray for both of the families involved. Especially pray for the ones that lost their loved ones."

The first victim says she now suffers severe head, neck and back pain. But she's more heartbroken over the sister who died. "That really upsets her, knowing that he took away the lives of the other three victims, that makes her even more upset," the woman's daughter said.

That victim said she will take a long time to heal emotionally from everything that happened this weekend.

The suspect will be booked into the Fresno County Jail as soon as he's released from the hospital.

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