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Driver charged with DUI and manslaughter in crash that killed 2 due in court

An El Cajon family is reunited with their puppy that ran away from scene of crash in Midway area.

SAN DIEGO — Police have identified the man suspected of driving drunk when he plowed into a van carrying four family members in the Midway area, killing two of them.

The driver, Edgar Suarez Espinosa, 33, was loaded into an ambulance Saturday night at the scene of the fatal car crash at Sports Arena Boulevard and Rosecrans Street.

Police say Suarez was speeding and driving drunk, when he lost control of his Toyota pickup, hit a center median, and flew through the air into the Toyota Sienna van carrying the four family members.

Ahmed Alrawi, 23, and his grandmother Suad Alsamarai, 81, were in the back seat of the van and died at the scene.  

Two other family members in the front seat were treated for back injuries and later released from the hospital.

Suarez suffered broken bones, police said.  He is now in the downtown jail, facing two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI charges, and a misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

CBS 8 reported on Monday that the family's 6-month-old German Shepherd named “Cookie” was missing, after it ran away from the accident scene on Saturday night.

As it turns out, employees at the San Diego Airport Parking lot, two block east of the crash site, found the puppy on Sunday morning, cowering underneath a parked car.

They took the puppy to the Humane Society on Gaines Street. Veterinarians examined the dog, gave it x-rays, and although the dog had a slight limp, it was cleared for release Tuesday morning to friends of the family.

The two friends loaded Cookie into a car and transported him back at the family's home in El Cajon.

Credit: CBS 8

The dog's owner, Abdullah Alrawi, was overcome with emotion when seeing the dog for the first time since the night of the fatal crash.

Abdullah was the driver of the van. He lost his grandmother and older brother in the accident.

Abdullah and his mother survived the crash, along with Cookie, who clearly was glad to be back home.

Suarez, whose age was initially reported by police as 31, is being held without bail.  He is set to be arraigned in downtown San Diego court on Wednesday afternoon.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses.

SDPD issued the following news release on Tuesday, May 10:

"San Diego – San Diego Police investigators have arrested a man in connection with a car accident that left two people dead and two others with serious injuries. On May 7th, just after 9:00 p.m., 33- year-old Edgar Suarez Espinosa was driving a Toyota Tacoma westbound in the 2900 block of Sports Arena Boulevard at a high rate of speed. At Rosecrans Street, Suarez Espinosa drove over the raised median and struck a van that was headed northbound and stopped at the red light. The two rear passengers in the van, an 81-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, died at the scene. The 21-year-old driver of the van and 46-year-old passenger both suffered serious injuries and were transported to the hospital. The suspect also suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital. He was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. Suarez Espinosa was released from the hospital yesterday and was booked into San Diego County Jail on two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI, and driving without a driver’s license. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information, is asked to call the San Diego Police Department at 619-531-2000, or the anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line at 888-580-8477."

WATCH: Driver charged with DUI and manslaughter in crash that killed two due in court (May 11, 2022)

RELATED: Police identify victims killed in Saturday's Midway area crash

WATCH RELATED: Police identify victims killed in Saturday's Midway area crash (May 2022)