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Witnesses, Officers Saw Signs Driver In Fatal Lodi Crash Was Under The Influence

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Nick Janes Nick Janes
Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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LODI (CBS13) — Ben McDonald says the driver suspected of causing a deadly six-car crash that killed six members of a family, was flying at freeway speeds on the city street while talking on his phone

“Luckily I saw him and slammed on my brakes. He flew past us,” he said. “I figured I better follow him because it looked like he was going to cause an accident.”

Tuesday night’s crash killed six members of family, and left a 9-year-old boy in the hospital

“He didn’t look like someone who was in a panic, someone who’s in a rush. He had a cell phone up to his ear,” he said.

The sickening impact two blocks ahead sounded like an explosion. He and his wife pulled up before first responders. He says the man was in and out of consciousness, slurring his speech.

“He was trying to talk, but it wasn’t someone who suffered trauma, but it was someone who couldn’t talk clearly, and I don’t know for certain, but my instinct is he had been drinking,” he said.

Brenda Kelly got close enough to hold the man’s hand, but didn’t smell booze on his breath.

“He was just like, Baby let me out of my car. Let me out please,’” Kelly said. “He was very delirious. He did not know where he was. A lot of people thought he was drunk, but I didn’t think he was.”

Lodi police are saying little, but confirm officer saw signs the 28-year-old man suspected of causing the horrific crash was under the influence.

Several search warrants have been served in what cops call a criminal DUI investigation. It may take weeks.

The driver’s name is not been released. At last check, he remains in critical condition. We tried numerous times to speak with his family is home today, but they would only offer no comment.

In a scary coincidence, at around 8:30 p.m. during a vigil for the victims, a two-car crash occurred same intersection. It was a minor fender bender and both drivers were OK.

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