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Indian Am gets life sentence for killing teens over prank

California prosecutors sentenced 45 year-old Anurag Chandra to prison for life last Friday after running a 2002 Toyota Prius carrying six teenagers off the road. Three of the six boys died, and the rest suffered injuries.

NBC News reports that in January 2020, Chandra pursued a group of six teenage pranksters in the Temescal Valley community, colliding his 2019 Infiniti Q50 with the Toyota twice at 99 mph and ramming the other vehicle off the roadway. The Infiniti is about 1,000 pounds heavier than the Prius without passengers.

Authorities said Chandra drove past the crash and did not call for help.

Thankfully, witnesses of the accident followed Chandra’s vehicle and reported him to authorities. A survivor of the incident and then-driver of the group, Sergio Campusano, explained to NBC Los Angeles that the boys had gone to Chandra’s house during a sleepover, ringing the doorbell before running back to their car. This prank is known as the “doorbell ditch.”

After the prank, Chandra followed the boys and intentionally rammed into their car, resulting in the death of three 16 year-old boys identified as Drake Ruiz, Daniel Hawkins, and Jacob Ivascu. A vigil with hundreds of community members was held in the boys’ honor in January 2020, according to KTLA.

Chandra was convicted in April on three counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and a special circumstance allegation of multiple other criminal offenses. It took only three hours for the Riverside County jury to return guilty verdicts against Chandra, according to a press release by the District Attorney’s Office.

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