North County Regional Center in Vista
The arraignment was held at the North County Regional Center in Vista. Photo by Chris Stone

A 19-year-old man who allegedly plowed a pickup truck into a family’s crowded car in Oceanside, killing three, pleaded not guilty Thursday to DUI and manslaughter charges.

The crash near Buccaneer Beach on Tuesday killed a senior citizen and her two adult daughters and injured three of their other relatives.

Mason Robert Fish, the alleged driver of the pickup, was charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He also faces faces felony and misdemeanor counts of DUI causing injury, possession of a controlled substance, and driving without a license

Fish, whose bail was increased from $602,000 to $800,000, faces 13 years in state prison if convicted as charged.

He is due back at the Vista courthouse on March 27 for a readiness conference.

The crash killed 74-year-old Rufina Arango Rodriguez of Oceanside, and her daughters, 40-year-old Petra Arango of Oceanside, and 56-year-old Eloina Arango of Mexico.

Three other family members were injured, including Petra Arango’s 13- year-old daughter, Arango’s father, 82-year-old Aquilino Arango Ojeda of Fallbrook, and Arango’s husband, 43-year-old Rey David Velasco Herrera of Oceanside. The octogenarian and the girl were released from the hospital Wednesday, according to police, while an update on Herrera’s condition was unavailable.

Fish was heading south on South Coast Highway shortly before 1 p.m. when he allegedly ran a red light at Oceanside Boulevard, crashing his 2007 Toyota Tacoma into the driver’s side of an eastbound 2003 Mazda sedan. The broadside impact sent the sedan spinning “violently” across the road crossing and ejected two of the four backseat passengers, Petra Arango and her daughter, onto the pavement, Oceanside Police Sgt. Rick Davis said.

Medics took the teenager, whose name was not released, and her mother to hospitals. Physicians pronounced Petra Arango dead about an hour after the crash.

The two men in the front seats of the Mazda — Ojeda and Herrera — wound up trapped in the wreckage. After firefighters freed them, they were taken to trauma centers for treatment of what were described as moderately serious injuries.

It appeared that none of the family members were wearing seat belts at the time of the collision, Davis said.

Fish was uninjured in the crash. Davis declined to specify what kind of drug Fish allegedly had in his system at the time of the deadly crash, but the criminal complaint alleges he was in possession of cocaine.

Family members are currently trying to raise $25,000 for funeral costs, with a GoFundMe page created for Remedios Arango, identified online as the brother and son of the deceased victims.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.