TEMESCAL VALLEY, Calif. >> A Southern California driver intentionally rammed a Toyota Prius with six teenage boys inside, killing three and injuring three others before fleeing, authorities said Monday.
The Prius went off the road and slammed into a tree at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday in Temescal Valley in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.
Anurag Chandra, 42, of Corona was arrested a short time later in a neighborhood near the crash site, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“It was an intentional act,” CHP Lt. David Yokley said at a news conference, although he did not disclose a motive. “Our investigation led us to believe Mr. Chandra intentionally rammed the Prius, causing the driver to lose control.”
“The investigation has now changed from a hit-run collision to homicide,” he said.
Firefighters freed some teens trapped in the car. One boy died at the scene and two others were pronounced dead at hospitals. Their names were not immediately released.
The other victims had moderate injuries, authorities said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of the teens were wearing seat belts, authorities said.
A witness followed the other car and notified police. Officers found an Infiniti with front-end damage parked in a neighborhood near the crash site, Officer Juan Quintero told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Chandra was booked on suspicion of murder with malice and assault with a deadly weapon. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.