Victim's friends criticize bail in fatal crash -
Published Friday, October 19, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 2:00 am
Victim's friends criticize bail in fatal crash

Friends of a teenager killed in a weekend car crash complained Thursday that a judge set bail too low for the driver charged in connection with the crash.

A Douglas County Court judge set bail at $50,000 for Sergio Valdivia-Marquez, 21, who is charged with motor vehicle homicide in the death of Michael Tran, 18.

Prosecutors said Valdivia-Marquez had a blood-alcohol content of .213 percent — nearly three times the legal limit for driving — when he ran a red light and collided with Tran's vehicle at 72nd and Grover Streets just after midnight Saturday.

Tran, who worked as a lifeguard at CoCo Key Water Resort, died Wednesday at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Valdivia-Marquez must pay $5,000, or 10 percent of the $50,000 bail, to be released.

Friends said the bail amount was too low for the loss of the Bryan High School graduate.

Nick Hoang, a family friend, said the bail “is unfair for Michael. He had his whole life ahead of him.”

Judges have discretion in setting bail amounts. They often consider the seriousness of the charge, a defendant's connections to the community and whether they are dangerous.

Valdivia-Marquez had not posted bail and was in jail Thursday night.

Tran's parents moved to the United States from Vietnam in the 1990s for a better life for their children, Hoang said.

“Michael's death is a big loss,” he said.

Friends have described Tran as a happy, energetic guy who worked hard and had fun.

He is survived by his parents Tony N. Tran and Loan Nguyen, and sister, Lisa Tran.

Valdivia-Marquez has been cited or charged nearly a dozen times for traffic-related offenses since 2009, according to court documents. He never has held a Nebraska driver's license, and state officials said there is no record of him being licensed in any other state.

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