A Corona-area man accused of chasing down and ramming a car occupied by six teenagers, causing the vehicle to slam into a tree, killing three of the boys, was charged today with three counts of murder and other offenses.
Anorag Chandra, 42, was arrested in the predawn hours Monday following a California Highway Patrol investigation into the deadly collision.
Along with the murder counts, Chandra is charged with three counts of attempted murder. He's being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and is slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
The defendant allegedly killed Daniel Hawkins, Jacob Ivascu and Drake Ruiz -- all 16. Ivascu was from Riverside; the other two from Corona. A 13year-old boy, 14-year-old boy and 18-year-old young man, who was at the wheel ofthe car that was struck, suffered various moderate to major injuries, according to authorities. All are expected to survive.
According to CHP investigators and prosecutors, the boys were having a sleepover Sunday night at one of the victims' residence, and they decided to pull a prank, known as a ``doorbell ditch,'' at a neighboring residence in Temescal Valley, just south of Corona.
Shortly after 10 p.m., five of the boys piled into a Toyota Prius parked on Modjeska Summit Road, while one of them went to Chandra's residence and rang the bell several times, investigators said. The youth then ran to the Prius, which raced away from the location.
``Based on evidence gathered in the investigation, Chandra … chased after the Prius in his 2019 Infinity Q50,'' according to a District Attorney's Office statement.
CHP Officer Juan Quintero said the defendant bore down on the Prius at high speed on Temescal Canyon Road, approaching Squaw Mountain Road.
Quintero said Chandra allegedly rammed the Prius, causing the sedan to spin out of control and slam into a tree on the side of the road.
Family members told reporters that the boys were fleeing out of fear and were trying to avoid Chandra at the time.
The surviving victims were taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment.
Witnesses followed Chandra back to his residence and alerted CHP officers, who arrested him roughly four hours after the collision.
According to court records, he has an unresolved misdemeanor case for alleged battery on a cohabitant and child endangerment.