The teens were playing “ding-dong-ditch” when a man answered the door and began to chase them in his vehicle. The mother of the teen who was driving said the boys were scared and tried to get away from the man who then rammed his car into theirs, causing the car to run into a tree.
“It’s the worst nightmare,” Daniel Damien, a father of a boy who knew the victims, said.
On Tuesday, Damien was outside of Santiago High School, waiting for his son to come out after a meeting with school counselors.
“He knows all the victims, all the people injured,” Damien said of his son. “He’s been not talking for the last two days.”
Damien said his family was especially close to two brothers involved in the crash — 16-year-old Jacob and 13-year-old Joshua Ivascu. Jacob was killed, but Joshua survived.
“Jacob had a bright smile, funny,” Damien said. “Always joyful, always smiles.”
Students at Santiago also mourned the loss of 16-year-old Daniel Hawkins. His 13-year-old brother, Joshua, survived and was recovering from his injuries.
At Centennial High School, just down the street, students remembered 16-year-old Drake Ruiz. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family cover his funeral costs.
The 18-year-old driver, Sergio Campusano, was also recovering from his injuries.
“Everyone was sad,” a student said. “Everyone was devastated, like it could have been them.”
Officers with the California Highway Patrol have arrested 42-year-old Anurag Chandra on suspicion of murder. Chandra has been accused of intentionally ramming his vehicle into the car carrying the six teens Sunday night.
Court records indicated that Chandra has already faced misdemeanor domestic violence charges including spousal abuse and willful injury to a child.
“Sometimes I say, ‘Well, Lord forgive him,’” John Davis, a father of a boy who knew the victims, said. “But then other times I go, ‘This is a bad person.’”
Family members have said the teens did not know Chandra before they rang his doorbell Sunday night, but they said they believe Chandra might have rammed his car into their vehicle multiple times, causing the driver to lose consciousness.
“I understand people get road rage,” Damien said. “But in this case, there were six innocent kids. I can’t understand why he didn’t stop.”
CHP is continuing to investigate the crash and claims that the driver struck the teens’ vehicle multiple times.
School district officials have said counselors would be made available for students.
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