Just before 10:30 p.m., an Infiniti collided with a Toyota Prius carrying six teenage boys and then slammed into a tree at Temescal Canyon Road and Trilogy Parkway, according to California Highway Patrol.
Riverside County Fire crews responded to find three of the six teens that were riding in the Toyota still trapped inside the car. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get them out.
One of the boys died at the scene and the other five were rushed to a hospital, where two more died, a CHP spokesperson said. The other three injured boys are expected to survive their injuries.
One of the boys killed was identified as 16-year-old Drake Ruiz. A GoFundMe was made to raise funds for his funeral.
Their names were not released. It’s unclear if any of the teens were related.
Meanwhile, video showed CHP officers arresting a man believed to be the driver of the Infiniti involved in the crash about a half-mile from the scene. A witness had followed the suspect, later identified as 42-year-old Anurag Chandra, to his home.
“The witness basically followed that vehicle as he fled the scene into a nearby residence,” CHP Officer Juan Quintero said. “The witness then came back and relayed that information to our officers.”
Chandra is accused of intentionally slamming into the victims’ car, CHP officials said in a news conference Monday afternoon. He was charged with murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon.
“Obviously there was some sort of contact, we’re looking into those exact same questions whether or not he was known to the victims,” said Lt. David Yokley. “Obviously there was some sort of contact which led to this incident whereby he did initially ram this vehicle causing the death of these three young boys.”
It was not initially believed that drugs or alcohol were involved in the collision.
The car carrying the six boys only had five seat belts, officials said. It’s unclear if any of the teens were wearing seat belts.