CORONA (CBSLA) – A Corona-area man who authorities say chased down and rammed into a car carrying six teen boys who had been playing “doorbell ditch” – killing three of them – has been charged with murder.
Anurag Chandra, 42, was charged with three counts each of murder and attempted murder, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. He also faces a special circumstances allegation of multiple murders.
On the night of Sunday, Jan. 19, prosecutors report that the six boys were having a sleepover in the Temescal Valley, just south of Corona, when one of them was dared to “ding-dong-ditch” a nearby house.
The boys rang the doorbell of Chandra’s home on Modjeska Summit Road and then sped away in a Toyota Prius.
Chandra jumped in his 2019 Infiniti Q50 and gave chase, prosecutors allege. About a half-mile into the chase, as the two cars were approaching Squaw Mountain Road – near Temescal Canyon Road – he rammed into their car.
“It’s just beyond what someone’s reaction should be to someone ringing your doorbell and running away,” DA’s office spokesman John Hall said Thursday.
The impact sent the Prius slamming into a tree, killing three of the boys – 16-year-olds Daniel Hawkins, Jacob Ivascu and Drake Ruiz. The other three boys – 13-year-olds Joshua Hawkins and Joshua Ivascu, along with 18-year-old Sergio Campusano – were injured, but survived.
Campusano was behind the wheel of the Prius at the time, the DA’s office said.
Chandra fled after the collision, California Highway Patrol reports. He was arrested at his home by CHP officers early Monday morning, about four hours after the wreck.
Court records indicated that Chandra has previously faced misdemeanor domestic violence charges, including spousal abuse and willful injury to a child.
He made his initial court appearance this afternoon before Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn, who appointed him a public defender and
scheduled his arraignment for Feb. 21 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Hall said the DA’s office may eventually seek the death penalty against Chandra.