California

3 teenagers killed in crash on Pacific Coast Highway; suspected drunk driver arrested

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Bani Duarte was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
(Courtesy of the Huntington Beach Police Department )

Three people were killed, one was injured and a woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a fiery crash that temporarily closed part of Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach early Thursday, police said.

Huntington Beach police responded at 1:08 a.m. to a report of a collision at PCH and Magnolia Street. A Toyota was on fire in the intersection when officers arrived, Officer Angela Bennett said.

Bennett said a Hyundai Sonata traveling north on Pacific Coast Highway struck the Toyota, which was stopped at a red light at the intersection with Magnolia.

Three people in the Toyota were killed. A male passenger who was able to get out of the vehicle was taken to a hospital with unknown injuries, police said.

Investigators have not identified the victims, describing them only as three young Las Vegas residents who were in Southern California for their spring break.

Bani Duarte, 27, of San Clemente, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Friends of the teenaged victims said they were visiting the area from Las Vegas for spring break. They identified them as AJ Rossi, Dylan Mack and Brooke Hawley. The teens attended Centennial High School and were part of a larger group who were vacationing with friends. Those friends told KTLA they had just seen the teens at a bonfire the previous night.

“They all just had really good hearts, and they didn’t deserve this,” one of the friends said.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact Huntington Beach police accident investigator Joshua Page at (714) 536-5670.

Fry writes for Times Community News.