NEW CASE UPDATE BELOW ORIGINAL POST
The family of small children killed when the car they were riding in was struck by a pickup truck near Gilbert Friday is speaking out.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the 6-year-old, Nolan Smith and his 11-year-old brother Frank, affectionately called CJ, died at the scene at Elliot and Sossaman roads at about 10 p.m.
The boys' parents, Traci and Frank were also injured and air-lifted to Valley hospitals. Their mother was said to have life-threatening injuries.
A family friend who was in the vehicle, Mary Guitterez, was also flown to a local hospital.
Officials said two people, 18-year-old Travis Ryan Cuevas and a 17-year-old male, fled from the suspect truck but were found a short time later.
Reportedly, both men were interviewed and pointed to the other as the driver.
Officials said the driver of the suspect vehicle failed to stop at a four-way stop.
Impairment was reportedly believed to be a factor in the accident.
On Monday, the family of the boys spoke out about their loved ones and those responsible for the accident.
Aunt Kristi Kear told ABC15, "Nolan had the bluest eyes and the biggest smiles and CJ was all about sports and baseball."
But through their tears also came anger towards the two teenagers arrested in the incident.
Kear went on the say, "I don't think anger is a word. I hate to use the word hate, but I can say that I hate those individuals and the reason why it happened."
A 19-year-old Mesa man was sentenced Friday to 24 years in prison for a drunken driving crash that killed 11- and 6-year-old brothers on Jan. 9.
About 60 relatives and friends attended the sentencing in Maricopa County Superior Court for Travis Cuevas. He spent most of the proceeding with his chin buried into his chest as they spoke about their loss, the lives of Frank "C.J." Smith V and Nolan Smith, and their disgust for Cuevas.
Some wore dark red T-shirts emblazoned with a baseball sporting wings and a halo surrounded by "Our Angels in the Outfield," a reference to the boys' love of baseball.
Cuevas pled guilty July 27 to two counts of manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
Judge Emmet Ronan had a sentencing range of 18 to 24 years under the plea agreement.
According to court documents, Cuevas and a friend drank vodka and beer before leaving on what was supposed to be a quick trip. Cuevas borrowed a 1985 Nissan truck from a friend.
At about 10 p.m. the truck sped westbound on Elliot Road, ran a stop sign at Sossaman Road and barrelled into a 2000 Saturn that was making a left onto Elliot from Sossaman.
Cuevas ran from the crash, but investigators were able to put him behind the wheel by shoe impressions left on the brake and accelerator pedals and a partial palm print on the stick shift, according to court documents.
The crash also injured the boys' parents, Frank Smith IV and Traci Smith, and family friend Mary Gutierrez. The boys' great grandfather, Frank Smith Jr., said he was helping to clean off the blood from the boys' father in the emergency room when he asked if he was cut anywhere else because there was so much blood.
The answer he got disturbs him to this day, the great-grandfather said.
"He said, "that's not my blood, Grandpa, that's my boys'," Frank Smith Jr. said.
Cuevas tried to get out of the plea deal in recent days by writing a letter to Ronan to say he was sleep deprived when he agreed to it and his attorney misguided him.
Cuevas asked for mercy from the judge in a letter.
"I would like you to know that what occurred that night deeply pains my heart every day and I'm sure it will for the rest of my life," Cuevas wrote.