The man who police said was driving drunk and killed three teenage girls in Salem on Sunday evening made his first appearance in court Tuesday, as the families of the victims only begin to grieve.
Juan Rodriguez-Palacios is in the Marion County Jail, facing charges including three counts of first-degree manslaughter in the deaths of Makayla Tryon, Trinity Watt and Madison Capobiano.
Court records show that he told police he had two beers before the crash, then later admitted to drinking eight of them.
Police said his blood alcohol content was 0.239 – nearly three times the legal limit.
“She had dreams and she wanted to conquer them,” Madison’s mother, Sheri Capobianco, told FOX 12.
She said her daughter was full of life and joy; a young woman who was going to college and earning straight A’s in a nursing program. She recently told her mother she decided to be a police officer instead.
She was in a two-year relationship with her boyfriend and the pair had plans to get married.
One of four sisters, she loved her family very much and just stopped by her mother’s home two days before the crash.
“I just screamed Madison and she jumped in my arms and gave me 100 hugs and kisses and she said she just had to come by and tell me she loved me and that was the last time I saw her,” Sheri said.
It turns out Rodriguez-Palacios was also charged with DUII in 2015, but the charge was dismissed when he completed diversion.
A conviction for reckless endangering in connection with that case remains on his record.
“He got the benefit of diversion and the educational component that goes with that, and yet, here we are back again in 2019,” the prosecutor on the case told the judge Tuesday.
The judge agreed with the prosecutor that Rodriguez-Palacios is a risk to the public and he’ll remain in jail without bail. He’s expected to return to court next week.
“For someone to get so intoxicated and get behind the wheel and not care about anyone. That’s so selfish. You just don’t do that – you just don’t,” Sheri added.
Two of the girls who were killed, Madison and Makayla, were neighbors and had a trip planned for Arizona in a couple of weeks.
Now, their families are leaning on each other for support through their pain and grief.
“She was just part of the family growing up and I know her mom is hurting just as much as I am,” Sheri said of Makayla and the Tryon family. “[Her mother] came over yesterday and we really didn’t say much, we just shared – you could just see it. You don’t even have to say it.”
The courtroom was full of family and friends of Makayla Tryon on Tuesday. Her father said they weren’t ready to speak publicly about her just yet as they begin to process what happened.
Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.