Santa Ana Street Race caused two deaths - Adamson Ahdoot LLP

California Legal Blog

Santa Ana Street Race caused two deaths

June 23, 2022 María López Garcia

Santa Ana, California was the scene of tragic street race violence.

26-year-old Damian Chavez plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter after a street race in April 2019 that resulted in the death of two men. 

Worse still, Chavez fled the scene after being involved in the illegal race. 

Richard Inda and Jerman Marquez, the driver and passenger of the other vehicle, slammed their white BMW into a tree on South Bear Street when the incident happened. 

The viciousness of the impact split the vehicle in half and caused it to burst into flames. Both were found dead inside the car after being “burned beyond recognition,” said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department.

Although he is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25, Chavez pleaded guilty to a hit-and-run homicide involving two people. According to police sources, after the crash of the white sedan, the defendant, who was driving a red Mustang, momentarily stopped and then fled the scene. 

The accident became significant in April 2020, when Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer harshly criticized Chavez’s bail for being lowered from $100,000 to $20,000. 

This reduction, much decried by Spitzer, was implemented because of the new state program that was started at the beginning of the pandemic to control the spread of the coronavirus in jails.

Santa Ana, a common area for illegal street racing and street takeovers

In May 2021, the Santa Ana City Council issued a proposal to help restrict all types of street racing and street takeovers. The purpose was to limit illegal maneuvers by penalizing those spectators who were participants in the spectacle. 

“They’re not just there watching. They play a role,” said police Commander Chuck Elms. According to the officer, the role of those attending these races is key, because by “targeting the spectators, they will stop coming to Santa Ana.”

Although this new law was proposed to be implemented due to the “significant increase in street intersection takeovers and illegal races that were having an almost nightly drain” on the police resources, the Santa Ana City Council overturned the proposed law. According to the council members that voted against it, the ordinance would criminalize innocent bystanders.

Over the past few years, Santa Ana and other Southern California cities such as Los Angeles have seen a spike in reckless driving. Recently, a vehicle doing donuts during a street takeover caught fire and exploded with hundreds of people around it. 

In the past five years, four people have died in Santa Ana during these types of events.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of negligent illegal street racing or intersection takeovers, contact Adamson Ahdoot today. Our professional team has over 100 years of combined legal experience and can assist you in recovering the peace of mind and financial relief you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.

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