Courts & Law

Pre-trial hearing in HB triple death crash

THE SUSPECT in a fiery triple fatal accident in Huntington Beach should be in court on Thursday in Westminster (Orange County Tribune photo).

A pre-trial hearing is set for Thursday in the case of a woman accused of driving drunk in Huntington Beach and crashing her car into another vehicle, killing three teenagers.

Bani Marcela Duarte is to appear at the Central Justice Center in Westminster at 8 a.m. in connection with homicide charges stemming from the March 29, 2018 incident, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

The incident took place at around 1 a.m. at Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Street. Three teenagers from Las Vegas were fatally injured and a fourth severely injured.

The decedents are Brooke Hawley, 17, Dylan Mack, 18, and Albert Rossi, 17. They were in Orange County celebrating their spring break from high school.

Investigators determined that the driver of one car – Duarte, a resident of San Clemente – was operating her vehicle under the influence.  Her auto smashed into the other car, which was stopped at a red light.

The car with the teens was pushed through the intersection and into a utility pole, where the vehicle burst into flames. Duarte was arrested, posted bond and was released.

But investigators say they found evidence that she was intending to leave the country to avoid prosecution. The Orange County U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and the Orange County District Attorney’s office assisted the HBPD in the search.

On April 27, 2018, she was rearrested in Downey by Huntington Beach police on murder and felony drunk driving charges. Duarte was booked into the Huntington Beach Jail.




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