SAN DIEGO -- The memorial at Chicano Park still grows by the day, a sign that no one has forgotten the horror that took place about a month ago when a truck flew off the Coronado Bridge, killed four people and injured seven more.
Twenty-four-year-old Navy Sailor Richard Sepolio of Hamilton, TX, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck on the afternoon Oct. 15 when San Diego police say he lost control and fell 60 feet onto a vendor's booth at Chicano Park.
Sepolio's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.08. immediately following the crash. Sepolio was charged with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count of driving under the influence causing injury and one count of driving with measurable blood-alcohol causing injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison.
Sepolio suffered a broken spine and head trauma.
Sepolio’s family, meanwhile, is fighting for his freedom. Sepolio’s father Mark Sepolio told the Hamilton Herald News that he blames the bridge for being unsafe and said a driver pushed his son off the road. Sepolio argues his son's alcohol level was not over the legal limit and that the bridge needed a higher railing. He also believes another driver pushed his son's car off the road.
"Usually you see fences with higher railings so people can't throw stuff off the bridge," Mark Sepolio told the paper. "Nine people have gone off that bridge. My son is the first to live."
Meanwhile, the family of one of the victims prayed for justice on the one-month anniversary of the crash, Tuesday. Norma Perez and her mother Linda Martinez drove from L.A. to release balloons at 3:45 p.m., the exact time of the accident. Francine Jiminez and boyfriend Andre Banks were crushed and died instantly at the biker rally they were attending below the bridge. Jiminez, a mother of four, was a social services worker.
"We love you sister," Perez said through tears.
"This is a place now that we will come over and over to because my daughter died here, these balloons are for her," Martinez said.
Perez says she doesn't hate Sepolio, but does want justice.
"It's in God's hands right now, but there's nothing wrong with the bridge, it didn't crumble,” Martinez said. “Something happened up there. That's why we have judges and lawyers to figure this out."