Man Accused Of Killing 3 Teens In Halloween Crash Had 2 Previous DUIs, 1 Hit-And-Run Conviction
The 31-year-old man accused of killing three teenage girls in a hit-and-run on Halloween night in Santa Ana has had a long criminal record that includes two DUIs and one hit-and-run conviction. He's also pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges in the past.Jaquinn Bell was arrested on Sunday and booked on suspicion of killing Lexia Perez, Lexandra Perez, and their friend Andrea Gonzalez in a hit-and-run. The L.A. Times reported that Bell had been driving on a suspended license that deadly night. His record shows that he had violated his probation seven times in the past.
In August, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, a hit-and-run and child endangerment, according to Orange County Superior Court records. He served ten days in jail, was put on three years probation, and was required to enter alcohol abuse and child abuse programs.
Authorities are investigating whether Bell was driving under the influence on October 31, when he allegedly crashed a Honda CRV at a "high-rate of speed" into the three 13-year-old trick-or-treaters in a crosswalk at East Fairhaven and Jacaranda streets. The impact of the crash threw the teens over 100 feet. The girls were pronounced dead at the scene.
Bell's children, a 17-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl, were with him in that Honda CRV during that deadly crash, police said. They reportedly ditched the car at a nearby Big Lots parking lot and fled on foot.
Santa Ana Police arrested Bell at a Stanton Motel 6, where he was there with his children, his mother and half-sister. Initially, police detained the entire group, but later released everyone except Bell.
Bell's mother, who asked not to be named, told the O.C. Register that her son fled that tragic night because he was scared. “He is not heartless. His heart goes out to the families.”
Joann Bell, 33, Jaquinn Bell's estranged wife who separated from him two years ago told the O.C. Register that he used to work as a security supervisor for local businesses, but eventually stopped because of a leg injury. Joann Bell described him as a stay-at-home dad who spent a lot of time with his children, even going to their son's football games. The couple married in 2002, but she filed for divorce this year.
Court records show Jaquinn Bell abused his wife. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery for punching his wife in 2009, and was put on probation. Just a year later, he pleaded guilty to violating a protective order to stay away from his wife. He served 30 days in jail and was put on probation again, according to the Times.
He pleaded guilty to a 2009 case stemming from him driving under the influence and with a suspended license. Over the next few years, his probation would be revoked and reinstated several times.
When Bell was arrested this weekend, there were two warrants out for his arrest in regards to allegations of domestic abuse: one for domestic violence and the other for contempt of court, according to NBC Los Angeles. It's not clear if the warrant for domestic violence was for new allegations.
When Andrea Gonzalez's brother, Josafat Gonzalez, heard about the arrests, he said: "It’s just a comfort knowing the people who did this, they’re going to have to answer for what they did. What bothered me the most is the fact that they killed them and left them like they were just nothing."
Bell is in custody at Santa Ana Jail, being held on a $530,000 bail.