LANCASTER, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – A memorial still stands two years later at the corner of West Meeting Street and Woodland Drive in Lancaster to honor two cousins and best friends.
The intersection is where officials with the 6th Circuit Solicitors Office say 22 year old Luis Gomez Roman, also known as Poncho and 23 year old Luis Hernandez Gomez, known as Kiko died in November 2021 after authorities say witnesses told them Quinton Harris ran a traffic light at a high rated speed, striking the car Poncho and Kiko were in.
“The Honda was catapulted into an utility pole at that intersection. The coroner’s report says both victims were killed instantly”, says Senior Assistant Solicitor, Mike Burch.
A SLED analysis showed Harris’s blood alcohol concentration was .26, which officials say is three times the legal limit. Harris also had his two young children in the car at the time. They were injured but are doing fine today.
Harris pleaded guilty in court for two counts of Felony DUI Resulting in Death. Family members of the victims came out in full force. Kiko’s sister sharing she not only lost her brother, but best friend.
“No matter what I do, I’ll never see my brother again in this life. I just want justice”, says Rose Gomez.
Poncho’s girlfriend was pregnant with their child at the time of the crash. She says the last two years have been very difficult.
“Being a single mom is hard. I didn’t make that decision, it was made for me”, says Luz Casarrubias.
Family members of Harris also spoke out in court. They asked the Judge for mercy, saying Harris is a hard working and a great father.
“Please don’t look at him as monster. He is human. That’s really what I want to say is he’s human and he made a mistake”, says family member of Harris.
The Judge ultimately sentenced Harris to 19 years, reduced to 14 years behind bars, followed by five years probation. Kiko’s and Poncho’s families say although nothing will bring their loved ones back, they wanted the maximum sentence of 50 years.
“I really wanted to trust our court system, but it let me down”, says Gomez.
Harris did speak in court. He said, ” My condolences goes out to the victim’s families. I hate this tragedy happened. I hope one day you will forgive me. I’m very very sorry. To my family, thanks for the support, I’m also sorry and I love ya’ll.”
At the time of the crash, Harris was also charged with Child Endangerment but that charge was dropped.
Quinton has been behind bars since the incident when his bond was denied in 2021.
6th Circuit Solicitor Randy Newman released the following statement to CN2’s Renee O’Neil:
“My heart goes out to the families of both young men Luis Uriel Hernandez-Gomez andLuis Alfonso Gomez-Roman. Both innocent victims who lost their lives because of Mr. Harris’ recklessness. These cases are always difficult and I commend Solicitor Burch for his work on this case. I pray that this case brings some amount of closure to the families. We certainly would’ve liked a longer sentence. We don’t always get the results we are looking for. The Judge has to listen to both sides and make a tough decision. With the holidays among us, I am hopeful that folks will think twice before they get behind the wheel. DUI is 100% preventable.”