A southern California man deliberately rammed a Toyota Prius full of teenage boys Sunday night, causing a crash that killed three of them, police say. Corona resident Anurag Chandra, 42, was arrested and charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon. the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. “It was an intentional act,” California Highway Patrol Lt. David Yokley said at a press conference Monday. “Our investigation led us to believe Mr. Chandra intentionally rammed the Prius, causing the driver to lose control.” Police say the Prius slammed into a tree after it was hit by Chandra’s Infiniti sedan. One teen was pronounced dead at the scene and two others died in hospitals, the AP reports. Three other teens in the vehicle were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Riverside County Coroner’s Office identified the victims, who were all 16 years old, as Daniel Hawkins, Drake Ruiz, and Jacob Ivascu. Yokley told reporters that alcohol or drugs are not believed to be factors in the incident. He said there was “obviously some sort of contact” between Chandra and the teens, but the circumstances are still unclear. Ruiz’s mother, Debbie Ruiz, tells KTLA that the boys, one of whom was celebrating a birthday, rang a doorbell and drove off, thinking they were playing a prank on another teen. “But it was that angry man,” she says. She says she wants to thank a woman who prayed with the dying boys after the crash, and a man who followed Chandra and reported his location to police. (Read more California stories.)