fatal crash

DUI Driver Fatally Hits US Marine Corps Veteran , Dog on Woodbridge Sidewalk: Police

Luis Alfredo Perez, 45, and his Akita died after they were struck Saturday at Old Bridge Road and Cape Cape Court in the Lake Ridge area, police said

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A U.S. Marine Corps veteran and his dog died after they were hit on a sidewalk in Woodbridge, Virginia, on Saturday by a man allegedly driving under the influence, authorities say. 

Luis Alfredo Perez, of Woodbridge, was killed, Prince William County police said Sunday. He was 45. 

Perez’s dog, Romeo, a male Akita between 5 and 7 years old, also died, police said. 

Banze Mwenze Gentil, 40, of Woodbridge, was arrested and charged with DUI involuntary manslaughter, DUI and failure to wear a seat belt. It wasn’t immediately clear if he has an attorney. 

Officers were called to Old Bridge Road and Cape Cod Court in the Lake Ridge area at about 9:45 p.m., police said Sunday. 

The investigation found that Gentil was headed west on Old Bridge Road in a 2016 Ford Focus when “the vehicle left the roadway and drove onto the sidewalk, where the vehicle then struck a pedestrian who was walking his dog,” police said in a statement.

The Focus then hit a communications box and a power pole, causing the pole to snap and crash onto the roadway. 

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“I heard a weird, frightening pop sound that was very bizarre and caught my attention, and then several explosions as all these telephone wires came down,” said Shawn Oakes,who was in a nearby Taco Bell parking lot.

Officers and bystanders helped Perez until medics arrived, police said. Perez was taken to a hospital, where he died. His dog died at the scene.

Investigators determined that Gentil was intoxicated and took him into custody, police said. He was later formally arrested. 

Gentil was held without bond and has a court date pending. 

“He grew up to be a very strong, caring loving man who I would love to be like, I want to emulate,” said Perez’s brother, Daniel. “He put others before himself.”

Before first responders arrived, good Samaritans rushed to the victim’s aid.

“That person is a Godsend, you know, to be there for my brother,” Perez said.

Luis Perez had been documenting a recent journey of personal transformation on his Instagram feed, spotlighting his love for his wife and his remarkable fitness quest. Working with a personal trainer, he had lost 140 pounds since January.

Trainer Aaron Williamson has worked with Hollywood stars but calls Perez one of his best clients. “The epitome of what an amazing human being is,” Williamson said. “He’s selfless, he’s genuine, he has such a passion for life.”

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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