Three teenage boys were killed and three others were hurt when a prank apparently went awry and led a man to intentionally rammed their vehicle, causing the car to crash into a tree in the Temescal Valley south of Corona, family and authorities said.
The crash was reported at 10:28 p.m. Sunday at Temescal Canyon Road and Trilogy Parkway, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The initial investigation led the California Highway Patrol to believe it was a hit-and-run crash, but they were later able to determine -- due to witnesses that came forward -- that the deadly crash was an "intentional act."
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Firefighters used the jaws of life to remove three people from the car, then took them to hospitals, fire officials said. One person was pronounced dead at the scene, fire officials said. Two died after transport, the CHP said.
The three teenagers killed in the crash, all 16 years old, were Daniel Hawkins, Jacob Ivascu and Drake Ruiz. The three injured in the crash were Sergio Campusano, Joshua Hawkins and Joshua Ivascu, the last two of whom lost their older brothers in the crash.
Campusano, 18, was believed to be the driver of the Prius and was described as best friends with Drake Ruiz, according to Drake's mother. There were five seats inside the silver Prius.
"Boys were playing ding dong ditch’em at a house they thought was a young -- somebody their age -- but it turned out to be that angry man," Debbie Ruiz, Drake Ruiz's mother, said. "They were scared to death -- tried to get away several times. He rammed them, ran them off the road."
All six teenagers were members of a church's youth group, and the church hosted a prayer vigil attended by more than 1,000 people Monday night.
One witness said he heard the crash.
"I was inside the house and I heard a loud screeching sound followed with a boom," said Daniel Vasquez.
Vaquez drove to the crash scene and said that the victims told him the driver who hit them was in a white car. Vasquez said he found a damaged white Infinity on nearby on Mojeska Summit Road in Corona and called 911.
Anurag Chandra, 42, was detained in connection with the crash around 2:45 a.m., a CHP dispatcher said. He was booked on murder and attempted charges.
The relationship -- if any -- between Chandra and the victims was not immediately confirmed.
Temescal Canyon Road was closed between Squaw Mountain Road and Trilogy Parkway for the CHP's investigation.