Second Driver Arrested in Hit-and-Run Crash That Killed 16-Year-Old Baseball Player

Darryl Hicks, 28, of Los Angeles, was found and arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, and felony hit and run.

A second arrest was made Thursday in a crash that killed a 16-year-old Torrance baseball player and left his father seriously injured.

The crash occurred about 10 p.m. Tuesday at Crenshaw Boulevard and Crest Road when two vehicles went through a red light and crashed into a 2000 Toyota Sienna van driven by the teen's father, according to the Torrance Police Department.

Jesse Esphorst Jr. died at a hospital and Jesse Esphorst Sr., 47, was hospitalized in intensive care.

According to police, a 2004 Audi A6 and a 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 were both northbound on Crenshaw Boulevard when the drivers failed to stop for the red light and crashed into the Esphorsts' 2000 Toyota Sienna, which was turning left from southbound Crenshaw Boulevard to eastbound Crest Road.

"The initial investigations indicate the driver of the Audi was involved in a minor collision in Rancho Palos Verdes with the Mercedes-Benz and fled the scene ... and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 was following the Audi when both vehicles ran the red signal for northbound Crenshaw Boulevard at Crest Road and both collided with the Toyota Sienna van," according to a police statement.

"After the collision, the Audi fled northbound on Crenshaw and the driver of the Mercedes GLK350 stayed at the scene," according to Torrance police. "The Audi was located a short time later near the scene unoccupied."

The driver of the Mercedes, 21-year old Tung Ming of Rancho Palos Verdes, was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and released on $50,000 bail.

The driver of the Audi A6, identified as 28-year-old Darryl Hicks of Los Angeles, was found Thursday and arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, and felony hit and run.

Jesse Esphorst, Jr., 16-year-old star athlete who many say had a promising future.

Many returned to the scene of the crash Wednesday night to remember Esphorst.

"I feel a void in my heart," said Julie Esphorst, his mother. "I know my son is not coming home."

The teen was a shortstop on the South High School baseball team. Counselors were made available for students and faculty learning about Jesse's death.

School principal Scott McDowell said Esphorst had a promising future and many expected him to play professional baseball.

"He was on the Babe Ruth team this summer that won the Babe Ruth World Series," said McDowell. "In this tournament, where they were the top team in the nation, he was named most outstanding player as a freshman."

Baseball coach Grady Sain said that Jesse and his father were on their way home from dinner at his grandmother's when the crash occurred.

"Just an incredibly special kid," Sain said. "Everybody would tell you that he was an incredibly talented baseball player and everybody would tell you that he was just an incredible person. He was so genuine, just so real, one of the most respected young men that I've ever been around."

Jesse's inspiration was his younger brother Cody, who has battled cancer.

"He always told me, 'If Cody can beat cancer twice, I can do anything,'" Julie Esphorst said. "And he did."

Over $75,000 of a $100,000 was raised by over 700 people in just one day in a GoFundMe campaign for the family.

If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up to help the Esphorst family, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 7.9 percent of all funds raised in the form of platform and payment processing charges.

NBC4's Adrian Arambulo and Christine Kim contributed to this report.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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