Three teenagers died when a man ‘intentionally’ rammed their car off the road because he was furious they had run away after ringing his doorbell for a prank.
Three other teenagers were injured in the crash and suffered moderate injuries but are expected to survive.
The boys who died – who were all 16-years-old – are Daniel Hawkins and Drake Ruiz, of Corona, California, and Jacob Ivascu, of Riverside, California.
The crash survivors were Daniel and Jacob’s younger brothers, 13-year-olds Joshua Hawkins and Joshua Ivascu, and 18-year-old Sergio Campusano.
A mother of one of the victims said the boys had been out celebrating Jacob’s birthday and were playing ‘ding-dong-dash’ – a prank where a doorbell is rung and the prankster runs away.
This infuriated Anurag Chandra, 42, of Corona, who chased after them and rammed their car.
Authorities identified the three teen boys that were killed when a man allegedly intentionally chased their car and rammed them, forcing them off the road. Drake Ruiz, 16, is pictured here
The other two victims of the fatal crash were Daniel Hawkins, 16 (left), and Jacob Ivascu, 16 (right). It’s unclear if the teens were wearing seat belts at the time of the incident
All six of the teens were in the same Toyota Prius when it went off the road and slammed into a tree around 10.30pm Sunday in Temescal Valley in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.
Authorities arrested Chandra a short time later in a neighborhood near the crash site, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Chandra was charged with murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon, after police said their investigation showed that he intentionally rammed his car into the boys’ Prius and caused the driver to lose control of the car.
Anurag Chandra, 42, was charged with murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly chased after the boys’ car and rammed into them with his own, resulting in teens losing control and hitting a tree
Although authorities haven’t revealed what caused Chandra to allegedly run the teenagers’ car off the road, a victim’s mother said the incident occurred after a childish prank the boys had been playing.
Drake Ruiz’s mother, Debbie Ruiz, told CBS LA that the six teens had been out that night, celebrating Jacob Ivascu’s birthday with a game of ‘ding-dong-ditch,’ in which pranksters ring a home’s doorbell and then run away before the homeowner can answer the door.
Ruiz said that the boys had gone to Chandra’s home and rung his doorbell.
‘When he came out and got in his car to chase after them, they fled for their lives basically,’ Debbie Ruiz said.
Chandra then drove after the boys’ car, chasing them until he caught up with them, then rammed their car with his own, before driving away from the scene.
A witness followed Chandra’s car and notified police, who found an Infiniti with front-end damage parked in a neighborhood near the crash site, Officer Juan Quintero told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
When police arrived at the scene, they found three of the teens standing outside the car, while the other three boys were still trapped inside it.
Firefighters pronounced one of the boys dead at the scene and the other two crash victims died at the hospital.
The teenagers’ Toyota Prius is seen here after the crash. When authorities arrived, they found three of the boys had escaped from the car, while the other three were stuck inside
Authorities believe that the boys’ car was intentionally rammed and have charged Chandra with murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon
The Prius went off the road and slammed into a tree around 10.30pm on Sunday in Temescal Valley in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles
A police officer works at the scene of the crash in Temescal Valley in Riverside County
Two police officers at the scene lay out markers to investigate the crash. It’s not clear if the teenagers were wearing seatbelts
Chandra’s neighbor, Thalia Anguiano, told CBS LA that she did believe that Chandra had intentionally rammed the boys’ car.
‘I don’t think it was the way it happened,’ Anguiano said. ‘They were good people, they didn’t bother anyone, they were just a big family to everyone.’
Authorities said Monday it was unclear whether any of the six teenagers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, although the five-passenger car would’ve been short one seat belt.
Police did not identify which of the teens was driving the car, but noted that he was of legal age to be driving.
California Highway Patrol Lt. David Yokley told reporters Monday that neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be involved in the incident, but that toxicology tests were pending.
Police also said that they were investigating whether Chandra and the boys knew each other prior to the fatal incident.
All six of the teens had attended the same school when they were younger, the Olive Branch Church & School in Corona, and were ‘dearly loved by our staff,’ according to the school’s Facebook post.
The boys were said to have been active members of the youth ministry at Corona’s Northpoint Evangelical Free Church.
‘They were bright young kids that had so much to look forward to and it was taken far too early,’ Northpoint spokesman Tim East told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
A GoFundMe started on behalf of victim Drake Ruiz’s family said that he played high school football and had just turned 16 on New Year’s Eve.
‘He was a loving son, a kind brother and was loved by everyone who knew him. He was genuinely a great kid,’ wrote fundraiser starter Nicole Nixon, adding that his mom, Debbie, ‘was not financially prepared for funeral expenses’ for the child.
Since the GoFundMe went live Monday, it has raised more than $14,500 of its $25,000 goal.
Jail records indicate that Chandra is being held without bail and that he is due in court on January 23.