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3 Las Vegas teens killed in fiery crash in Huntington Beach are identified

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A.J. Rossi, third from left, is pictured with his family in an undated photo. Rossi was one of three Las Vegas teenagers killed in a car crash early Thursday in Huntington Beach, according to his family.
(GoFundMe)

Authorities and family members have identified the three Las Vegas teenagers killed early Thursday when a car slammed into the back of their vehicle in Huntington Beach.

Orange County coroner’s officials identified Brooke Hawley, 17, and Dylan Mack, 18, as two of the victims. Family members last week identified the other victim as A.J. Rossi, 17. Coroner’s officials have not publicly identified him.

They and Alexis Vargas, a fourth teenager in the car, were visiting Southern California for spring break, authorities and family members said. Vargas survived the crash and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

A GoFundMe page set up to help fund Vargas’ recovery had raised about $900 as of Monday afternoon.

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“Alexis’ family are all extremely blessed and very thankful for Alexis being able to make it out of the car,” according to the page. “Based on medical reports, he suffered severe concussions and multiple burns on his hands and face.”

Rossi and Mack were seniors preparing to graduate from Centennial High School in Las Vegas in June.

Rossi’s family set up a GoFundMe page to cover his funeral expenses. It had raised about $26,000 as of Monday.

The page described him as always being the center of attention, with a smile that “lit up every single room that he walked into.”

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Bani Duarte, 27, of San Clemente was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, police said. She was released on bail Sunday.
(Courtesy of Huntington Beach Police Department )

The driver of the other car, Bani Duarte of San Clemente, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Duarte, 27, who is listed in jail records as a receptionist, was booked into Orange County Jail in Santa Ana with bail set at $100,000. She was released on bail Sunday morning, according to jail records.

The Orange County district attorney’s office, which is reviewing the case, said Monday that she had not been charged.

Huntington Beach police received a report of the crash at 1:08 a.m. Thursday at Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Street. A Toyota was on fire when officers arrived, Officer Angela Bennett said.

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

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

hannah.fry@latimes.com

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Twitter: @HannahFryTCN


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