A 19-year-old California man who allegedly drove 100 mph in a short police pursuit before a crash that killed three passengers has been charged with murder, prosecutors said Thursday.
Two teenagers and a man were killed, and three other passengers were injured in the crash Saturday morning in the city of Orange, police have said.
The driver, Azarie Dupree Fuller, was charged with murder and other counts, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He was also injured and remains hospitalized.
A public defender listed as representing Fuller did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The crash occurred around 3 a.m. after Fuller came to a “screeching halt” behind a stopped Orange police car, then did a U-turn, turned off the vehicle lights and drove at more than 100 mph, the district attorney’s office said.
The Orange police car turned around to pursue, and Fuller crashed the Nissan Altima he was driving into poles less than a mile after the chase began, the office said.
All seven people in the Altima were ejected from the car, which caught fire, Orange police have said.
The three people who were killed were identified as Dayanara Rebolledo, 14; Dominic McGinley, 17; and Gustavo Castro, 26. Three other passengers — two 14-year-olds and a 17-year-old — were injured and survived, according to the district attorney's office.
Video from the scene aired by NBC Los Angeles showed the vehicle on its side next to an electrical pole and one pole with traffic signals knocked down.
Orange police said at the time that they suspected that alcohol and drugs may have played a role and that a suspected nitrous oxide tank and balloons were found.
A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said toxicology results have not been returned.
Fuller faces up to life in prison, the district attorney’s office said.
He is charged with three counts of murder, three felony counts of child endangerment by a caretaker, one felony count of evading while driving recklessly and causing death and one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid license.
Orange is a city about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, near Anaheim and Santa Ana.