A prank that went wrong and left three teenagers dead has brought a trial of the California man who chased after them in his car, and it doesn’t look good for him that he admitted to driving 99 mph after drinking 12 beers.
We’ve all pulled a few regrettable pranks as teens, but they usually don’t end this badly. In a January 2020 incident in Riverside County, six teens pulled up to a house, and one rang the bell and pulled down his pants, a prank kids these days apparently call a ding-dong ditch. Yet the man who answered the door, father of two teenage daughters Anurag Chandra, says he believed them to be sexual predators. He jumped into his 2019 Infinity and pursued them, which eventually led to the teens’ crashing into a tree, taking the lives of 16-year-olds Drake Ruiz, Daniel Hawkins and Jacob Ivascu, and leaving three other younger teens with broken bones and significant injuries.
The 45-year-old Chandra is now standing trial for triple murder, according to the Southern California News Group. And Chandra took the stand in his own defense Monday. But it may not have gone well, as prosecutors getting him to admit that he drank 12 beers before the incident where he took the wheel, and in pursuit drove at speeds of up to 99 miles per hour,
“I was intoxicated,” Chandra explained under oath, according to the news group. “But someone came to my house to assault my wife and daughters and I wanted to hold them accountable. I had no intention of harming anyone.”
Yet prosecutors are likely to hammer Chandra on their assertion that he intentionally sideswiped the teens’ car, and rammed it from behind several times, causing it to drive into the tree for the fatal accident.. Chandra contends that they boys’ vehicle sideswiped him, but again, it’s a troublesome look that Chandra did not call 911 after the accident.
“In that state of mind, I was really afraid that I would somehow be blamed for the crash and made the mistake of leaving and going home,” he testified Monday. (His license plate was still left behind at the scene.) And explaining why he didn’t call 911 upon returning home, Chandra testified, “I passed out.”
Chandra returns to the witness stand for further testimony Tuesday.
Image: Panoramic view of a new modern courtroom via Getty Images