California man sentenced to life in death of 3 teens killed after door prank

A driver whose pursuit of a car full of teenage pranksters ended in the deaths of three of them was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, California prosecutors said.

Anurag Chandra, 45, ran the teenagers’ vehicle off the road after chasing it on Jan. 19, 2020, in the community of Temescal Valley, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Friday’s life sentence without the possibility of parole was the maximum for the case.

Chandra was convicted in April of three counts of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

The deceased were all 16 years old: Daniel Hawkins of Corona, Drake Ruiz of Corona and Jacob Ivascu of Riverside. Three other passengers in the 2002 Toyota Prius they were traveling in were injured, authorities said.

The car appears to have collided with a tree and a utility pole just before midnight.

Injured driver Sergio Campusano, 18, told NBC Los Angeles that one of the boys rang the man’s doorbell and ran towards the Prius in a prank known as a car ditch. doorbell or ding-dong ditch.

The area the teenagers had at a slumber party when they walked to the sedan and found themselves outside Chandra’s home in Temescal Valley, about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Chandra, in an Infinity Q50 about 1,000 pounds heavier than the Prius without passengers, drove after the teenagers and collided with the Toyota twice before reaching 99 mph and ramming it so that it sort of the roadway, according to prosecutors and the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities said Chandra’s vehicle turned around and drove past the wreckage, but the driver did not call for help.

Relatives of the victims read the statements during Friday’s sentencing, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Craig Hawkins, Daniel’s father, is quoted as saying: “Every day we feel the absence of this young man. The hole in our hearts and our lives because of the death of our son is staggering.”

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