A mother and two of her daughters were killed Sunday morning when a car driven by a man suspected to be intoxicated crashed into a home in the 1200 block of Sam Avenue.
Fexix Ferdin, 46, of Modesto, was arrested in the aftermath of the 1:32 a.m. crash.
The California Highway Patrol reported that Ferdin was traveling westbound on Holm Avenue at a high rate of speed in a 2007 Chevy Equinox SUV when he blew through the stop sign at Herndon Road, smashed into the curb and fence and shot into the east wall of the Sam Avenue duplex unit.
Ferdin sustained minor injuries.
Ceres Fire Battalion Chief Rich Scola said by the time he and his men arrived, officers from the Ceres Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department, along with AMR paramedics, had removed all four victims from the same room out of concerns for the stability of the compromised structure. They were girls aged 3, 5, and 10 and their 38-year-old mother, Mari Jacinto-Hernandez. Both she and the five-year-old were rushed to Memorial Medical Center where they both were pronounced dead. The three-year-old was taken to Doctors Medical Center where she later died. The 10-year-old girl was taken to a helicopter landing zone which had been set up in nearby Mancini Park and flown to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with major injuries. She was in critical condition on Monday afternoon.
Scola said the call was initially dispatched as a structure fire caused by a vehicle into a house. While there was no fire, the type of call lent itself to more resources dispatched.
“Our patient care was initiated much quicker because of that,” said Chief Scola.
Ferdin was arrested by the California Highway Patrol and booked into Stanislaus County Jail for three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The California Highway Patrol reminds motorists to never drink and drive. According to a study performed in 2017 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes each day. These deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades however drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.
Scola said that the horrifying event shook the first-responders, most all who have children of their own. He said a debriefing for first-responders will be offered this week.
“We are making efforts … to make sure all of our field staff units are provided any emotional support as we possibly can.”