Wrong-way drunk driver kills family of 5

/ Source: The Associated Press

A pickup truck going the wrong way on a highway struck a minivan, killing five members of a family heading home from a soccer tournament. The pickup's driver, whose blood alcohol content was four times the state's legal limit, later died.

Dana Papst, 43, was driving the wrong way on Interstate 25 near Santa Fe Saturday night when his truck hit the minivan, said Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano.

Solano said blood samples showed Papst had a blood-alcohol content of 0.32 percent — four times the limit for driving. Authorities also found an open container of alcohol in his truck.

The five family members killed were Paul Gonzales, 36; his wife, Renee, 39; and daughters Jacqueline Gonzales, 11 and Selena Gonzales, 10; and Alicia Garcia, 17.

Arissa Garcia, 15, another daughter, survived and was hospitalized with injuries.

Papst was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died early Sunday morning. He had a valid New Mexico license and had been convicted at least three times — in 1989, 1990 and 1991 — of drunken driving in Colorado, Solano said.

The family was heading home from a soccer tournament in which Selena and Jacqueline participated, said their grandfather, Ralph Gonzales.

Gonzales said he talked to his son around 5 p.m. that day and said what most dads would say.

"I told them 'Be careful coming home,'" Gonzales said.

Hours later, Gonzales listened to news reports detailing the collision.

Now he's questioning how a drunken driver could have taken the lives of his family.

"I thought that with all the legislation and the laws ... that this kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen anymore," he said.