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Involuntary manslaughter charge recommended in death of film student

The California Highway Patrol has recommended that the Imperial County district attorney charge a driver with involuntary vehicular manslaughter, following the death of a film student.

On April 15, Peng Wang, a 29-year-old film student from Chapman University, died after the off-road vehicle he was in crashed into a sand dune.

According to CBS News, Wang was riding in the vehicle with three students from USC. A student named Bianglang Li was driving the vehicle along the side of a dune at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. The vehicle began to overturn and partially ejected Wang.

The Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the police report. The report places blame on Li, saying he violated a section of California’s vehicle code that prohibits driving an off-road vehicle at a speed greater than “reasonable or prudent and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of other persons.”

According to the report, Wang was not wearing a seatbelt. When he was partially ejected, he struck the roll cage inside the car, causing his fatal neck injury.

The CHP has recommended a charge of involuntary vehicular manslaughter for 25-year-old Li. According to The Los Angeles Times, Felix Woo, an attorney who represents Li, declined to comment for their article.

USC offered its condolences to Wang’s family but did not specify whether Li would be disciplined.

“Peng Wang’s death was a horrible tragedy, and our deepest sympathy continues to be with his family members,” USC said in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Wang was well-regarded at Chapman.

“This is the most horrible thing any of us have experienced,” Dean of Chapman’s film school Stephen Galloway said in a statement to CBS News. “This was an extraordinary cinematographer.”

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