Suspected drunk driver kills three teens in fiery crash that left them burned ‘beyond recognition,’ police say

A crash caused by a suspected drunk driver in California reportedly killed three Las Vegas teens on Spring Break vacation early Thursday.

According to The Orange County Register, four teens were in a car stopped at a red light on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach when a Hyundai Sonata driven by Bani Duarte, 27, hit them from behind, causing their vehicle to burst into flames

Three teens, identified by KSNV as Albert “AJ” Rossi, 17, Dylan Mack, 18, and Brooke Hawley, 17 (pictured left to right), were reportedly pronounced dead at the scene. The fourth teen is hospitalized but his condition is unknown at this point in time.

“The car fire burned them beyond recognition,” Orange County coroner supervisor deputy Daniel Aikin revealed.

Witness Alex Martinez, 20, told The Register that saw Duarte swerving and hitting the sidewalk before supposedly causing Thursday’s fatal crash. Prior to the crash, Martinez and his friends had pulled up to her and asked if she needed a ride but she declined and drove off, he said.

He also recalled seeing Duarte accelerate before colliding with the teens’ car.

“I think he was in shock because he walked towards us all confused, not really knowing what just happened,” he said of the one teen survivor who exited the vehicle after the wreck.

“So he sat down and we asked him if there were other people in the car and he said there was three more in the car.”

Martinez, who reportedly called police, said that the back doors were crushed and the car was already in flames moments after the crash.

Reports indicated that the deceased teens were all students at Centennial High School in Las Vegas and were in California together for Spring Break.

Duarte was arrested a short time later and charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence causing injury.

Huntington Beach Officer Angela Bennett told KTLA, “In this day of age when we have the opportunities for rideshare, Uber, Lyft—even taxis or just a simple old designated driver—there’s no reason a person should be getting behind the wheel and causing this type of collision and causing three people to be deceased and another to be injured.”

[Featured Image: KTLA video screengrab/Bani Duarte, Huntington Beach Police Department]