By Velena Jones

SONORA (CBS13) — Five children are without a mother after a suspected drunk driver ran head-on into their car. The deadly wreck happened Monday evening on Phoenix Lake Road near Sonora.

Melissa Patania (credit: Jena George)

Since Monday, Robin Grove and her family have been living in a nightmare they can’t wake up from.

“You can’t sleep, you can’t eat, when you do sleep you have nightmares and you expect to see her and she is not there all because of a selfish act,” Grove explained.

Her 33-year-old daughter Melissa Patania never made it home Monday after Sonora CHP says 19-year-old Augustus Matthew Marinovich drove head-on into Melissa’s car with four of her kids inside. Patania was just four minutes from her home when the deadly crash happened. CHP says Marinovich had been drinking.

“Personally, I hope he rots in hell. I’m so angry right now and I cannot forgive him,” Grove said.

The four kids, ages six to 13, were all airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center with serious injuries. Some of the kids have undergone multiple surgeries, the youngest with a skull fracture.

“I pray all the time that my grandkids at the hospital will heal and come home,” Grove said.

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Grove said Melissa’s whole life was centered around her five kids. Her family describes her personality as fun, bubbly, loving and sarcastic. Grove explaining that her daughter loved to be adventurous and go fishing.

“I’m finding it hard to want to live, I know I have the rest of my family and I love them dearly. But our family is no longer complete,” Grove explained.

Melissa’s family says they are focusing on her children and praying they will fully recover from their injuries.

“We are going to fight for those kids and we are going to raise them and they are never going to forget their mother,” she said.

All four kids are still in the hospital two of the children are expected to be released in the next week.

Marinovich also suffered major injuries. He is facing charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Melissa Patania’s family. 

Velena Jones

Comments
  1. XYZ says:

    When will those running CA politics pass a law – SUCH A SIMPLE ONE – requiring ALL VEHICLES TO HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE. So have your kid breath into it to bypass? Write the law to make that premeditated murder, mandatory life sentence. Because DUI kills, maims, destroys, and drives all our insurance up. Melissa Patania’s family should go for “Melissa’s Law” for just this (justice).

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