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Homestead man pleads guilty in DUI crash that killed three children

Gabriel Delrisco, the Homestead man who killed three children in a January 2009 drunk driving wreck, pleaded guilty Wednesday and now must await the sentence of a judge.

Delrisco, 42, accepted responsibility to three counts of DUI manslaughter. He had no plea deal. Instead, Delrisco will hope that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rosa Rodriguez will show some mercy when she sentences him on April 28. HeÂ’s facing up to 45 years in prison.

Delrisco plowed into the back of a Ford minivan on Jan. 25, 2009 in South Miami-Dade, killing the Serrano children: Hector, 10; Esmeralda, 7, and Amber, 4.

Turning to the family, Delrisco wiping tears from his eyes said meekly: “I’m sorry. So sorry.”

Hector Serrano, their father, survived. Delrisco’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, authorities said. Delrisco was also charged with battery on a firefighter for fighting with rescue workers who extricated him from his own mangled truck; he did not plea to that charge.

“Now he wants to say he’s sorry,” Hector Serrano told reporters after the court hearing. “But it’s too late. He came and destroyed our entire family.”

DelriscoÂ’s case drew public interest because of his driving record: the former dump truck driver had been cited for traffic violations 29 times in eight years, including one previous drunk driving arrest. Delrisco still had a valid license at the time of the Serrano accident.

His case also took a twist when it was revealed that his defense attorney, Michael Catalano, had secretly worn a recording device in an attempt to help prosecutors implicate the SerranoÂ’s civil lawyer, Ariel Furst, in wrongdoing. Catalano alleged that Furst wanted Delrisco to lie about where he drank that night, clearing the way for a potentially lucrative lawsuit against a Homestead strip mall.

Prosecutors eventually ruled there was not enough evidence for a criminal case against Furst, and the feud between him and Catalano devolved into an ugly public spat and dueling Bar complaints.

For defense attorneys in the high-profile case, DelriscoÂ’s case was indefensible. There was no question he was driving. And there were no flaw in the blood tests that showed he had been drinking.

“We really feel there was no viable defense to this case,” Catalano told the judge Wednesday.

Delrisco instead opted to plead guilty and hope that his remorse and cooperation in the Furst probe would buy goodwill from the judge.

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