TEMESCAL VALLEY, Calif. – A driver intentionally rammed his vehicle into a Toyota Prius that was filled with teenagers, which led to the death of three passengers, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The vehicular assault was reported shortly before 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, near the intersection of Temescal Canyon Road and Trilogy Parkway, Fox 11 reported.
Investigators determined that two vehicles were traveling southbound on Temescal Canyon when the driver of a white Infiniti, later identified as 42-year-old Anurag Chandra, of Corona, intentionally used his automobile as a weapon and struck the Prius, causing it to slam into a tree, the CHP said.
(Images via Fox 11/Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)
As a result of the vehicular assault, three teenage boys were killed and three others injured.
“It was an intentional act,” CHP Lt. David Yokley told reporters at a news conference Monday. “Our investigation led us to believe Mr. Chandra intentionally rammed the Prius, causing the driver to lose control.”
The Prius was occupied by six juveniles at the time of the crime, three of which became trapped inside the vehicle after it struck the tree, according to Fox 11.
Firefighters freed some teens trapped in the car. One boy died at the scene, while two others were pronounced dead while en route to the hospital, officials said. Their names were not immediately released.
The CHP said that Chandra failed to stay at the scene or render aid to any of the victims.
“The investigation has now changed from a hit-run collision to homicide,” Yokley said.
A witness said they saw the accident and followed the suspect to a nearby home, where CHP officers later located and arrested him. The white Infinity that was parked in front of the residence had significant front-end damage.
(Image via Fox 11)
Chandra was booked on suspicion of murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon.
Investigators are still working to determine a motive.