The driver who investigators say was under the influence of drugs during a grisly crash Friday that killed a 3-year-old San Ramon boy was arrested three months ago under similar circumstances, according to prosecutors.
Yarenit Liliana Malihan rear-ended a car that was parked on the side of northbound Interstate 680, injuring two children and their mother, and killing a third child. On Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol clarified that Malihan was under the influence of drugs, not alcohol as had been previously reported.
The 39-year-old Pleasanton woman was driving with a valid license although the Alameda County District Attorney's office she was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol in June. Malihan was also charged with child cruelty because a toddler was in the car at the time of the crash.
The boy's grandfather is in mourning and calling for a change in the laws.
"I'm trying to stay strong for my family," said Chuck Manoiki. "I don’t want this lady out of jail again. She's just going to get behind a wheel again. She didn’t learn the first time."
On Tuesday, the CHP hosted a news conference to discuss that a driver with a prior DUI arrest can still have a valid driver's license — as was the case with Malihan. That decision is up to the Department of Motor Vehicles, officers said.
"We do not take a driver’s license for a drug related DUI because of the way the law is written," the CHP said.
Manoiki said that law needs to change.
"I hope one day legislation passes where you get one DUI, you're automatically done before you even go to court," he said. "There’s so many lives that can be saved if people quit drinking and driving, quit taking drugs and driving; so many lives saved."
Malihan's husband is an Alameda County sheriff's deputy, sheriff's officials confirmed Sunday, declining to identify him by name. The department's website lists a deputy named Clifford Malihan, and documents show the pair listed as "household members."
At the time of the accident, Yarenit Malihan was driving a white 2008 Toyota Sequoia on northbound I-680 near Bollinger Canyon Road. Traveling at a high rate of speed, she rammed into a "disabled" black 2007 Toyota Camry that was on the side of the road, the CHP said.
An 11-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl were taken to a hospital by ambulance, while their 3-year-old brother, who was later identified as Elijah Dunn and was described as being unresponsive at the scene, was airlifted to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. The CHP said Saturday that the 3-year-old child did not survive his injuries.
The children's mother also sustained major injuries and was transported by ambulance to John Muir Medical Center, the CHP said. Manoiki said that she is healing from a broken bone in her back, six broken ribs and and fluid buildup around her lungs.
The 12-year-old boy sustained bruising and minor cuts while the 1-year-old girl came out unscathed, Manoiki said.
Malihan sustained minor injuries that were treated at San Ramon Valley Hospital. She was then taken into custody at the Martinez Detention Facility on suspicion of driving while under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter, the CHP said. She was released on bail Saturday, according to jail officials.
A GoFundMe page has been created in support of the family, Manoiki said. As of Tuesday afternoon, 828 people have raised $55,922 in two days. The donations have exceeded the goal amount of $50,000.
NBC Bay Area's Christie Smith and Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.