CORONA (CBSLA) — A family whose one son was killed, along with his two friends, in a car crash involving an enraged driver spoke out Friday after their injured younger son returned home from the hospital.
Joshua Hawkins, 13, was the last of the three surviving boys involved in the wreck to return home. His older brother, 16-year-old Daniel Hawkins, was killed in the Sunday night crash on Temescal Canyon Road in Corona along with his two best friends, 16-year-old Jacob Ivascu and 16-year-old Drake Ruiz.
“Just a great person, funny person, he was always a great friend too,” Joshua said of his brother. “I know that all of his friends always loved him and they’d always be excited when they knew that he was coming over to see them or they were going to see him. They all just smiled when they were around him.”
The six teenagers were driving in a Prius near the Hawkins’ home when a neighbor, identified as Anurag Chandra, rammed them with his car, sending the Prius into a tree, killing three of them, according to California Highway Patrol.
“Based on evidence gathered in the investigation, Chandra…chased after the Prius in his 2019 Infinity Q50,” according to a District Attorney’s Office statement.
The boys were said to have been playing ding-dong ditch at Chandra’s home.
Despite all that has happened, the Hawkins family considers Chandra’s wife and children victims too.
“I feel absolutely terrible for them because they did not do anything, they’re not their dad, they’re not what their dad did.” said the boy’s sister Sarah Hawkins. “My heart hurts for their whole family because they’re going through something terrible too.”
Sarah believes Chandra should serve time.
The deeply religious Hawkins family said they are leaning heavily on their faith to get them through this.
“I know my son is in heaven, he’s with his two best friends,” said Daniel’s mother Janet Hawkins. “The had a nickname of ‘The Three Amigos,’ they did everything together, and I guess they didn’t want to part from each other so they all went to heaven together and there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that they’re all still together.”
Chandra was charged with three counts each of murder and attempted murder. He also faces a special circumstances allegation of multiple murders. Chandra was being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
A vigil was held Friday evening where dozens came out to mourn and honor the three teens who died.
“It was a horrible tragedy that happened,” a father of a girl who knew Hawkins said. “I felt we should just be here, show the family some support.”
Funeral services have been planned for the following Wednesday.
The families of the boys decided to hold a unified memorial service in the house of worship where “all six boys were actively involved in … youth ministries and devoted to their faith and families,” said Northpoint Evangelical Church spokesman Tim East.