Anurag Chandra, of Corona, California, has been charged with homicide after purposely ramming his car into a vehicle carrying six passengers, according to authorities.
Details of the Fatal Crash
According to the Los Angeles Times, the deadly crash took place around 10:23 p.m. on Temescal Canyon Road when a 2002 Toyota Prius carrying six teenagers swerved into a tree.
Jacob Ivascu died at the scene. Two other passengers—Drake Ruiz and Daniel Hawkins—died after being transported to a hospital. The three remaining teenagers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Cause of the Fatal Crash
What authorities had assumed to be a hit-and-run accident turned into a homicide case after further investigation. Evidence and witness testimony led authorities to determine that Anurag Chandra, 42, of Corona had purposely caused the crash by driving his vehicle into the Prius.
Although a motive has not been disclosed, an interview between Debbi Ruiz, Drake’s mother, and KTLA-TV Channel 5 reveals what happened minutes before the accident. She said that the boys had been driving to a sleepover to celebrate a birthday when they decided to play a prank at a house where they thought another teen lived.
The prank, “ding-dong-ditch,” involves ringing the doorbell and quickly driving away. However, the house did not belong to their friend but to Anurag Chandra, who chased the teens after they rung his doorbell and left his property. He pursued them in his vehicle, eventually ramming his vehicle into theirs on Temescal Canyon Road.
According to a news release, officials found Chandra near the crash site the morning following the incident and arrested him on suspicion of murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center with no bail.
Highway Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 37,150 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2017 (down about 0.8 percent from 2016)
- This decrease is the first decline in traffic fatalities since significant increases were recorded in 2015 and 2016
- Vehicle miles traveled is projected to have increased about 1.2 percent
- The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is projected to be 1.17 (down from 1.18 in 2016)
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
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