Torrance Police Department car. Photo by John Schreiber.

A young man is facing a possible vehicular manslaughter charge involving a head-on crash in Torrance that left another motorist dead, in what police said Monday may have involved a race between the suspect and a third motorist who kept going.

The coroner’s office said Maximillian Rojas, 20, of Harbor City died at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 11:50 p.m. Saturday on Pacific Coast Highway at 242nd Street.

Luis Samaniego Barajas, 19, of Los Angeles, was hospitalized in stable condition and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving, said Torrance police Sgt. Ronald Harris.

“Officers discovered that a black 1998 Honda Coupe and a blue 2016 Nissan Sedan had collided head-on in the southbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway,” Harris said.

“Based on witness statements, the initial investigation indicates the Honda was traveling northbound on Pacific Coast Highway at a high rate of speed when it collided with the raised center median,” he said.

The Honda, driven by Barajas, then crossed over into the southbound lanes and crashed head-on into the southbound Nissan driven by Rojas, Harris said.

“It appeared the Honda may have been racing another vehicle, which was described as a dark-colored possible BMW,” Harris said. “The dark-colored vehicle fled the scene without stopping, and was last seen northbound on Pacific Coast Highway.”

Two young men riding in the Honda, ages 18 and 19 from Los Angeles, were transported to a hospital. One was hospitalized in stable condition, and the other was treated for a minor injury and released. Their names were withheld.

PCH was closed in both directions between Hawthorne Boulevard and Madison Street for about five hours while police investigated the crash.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Torrance Police Department’s Traffic Division at (310) 618-5557.

–City News Service

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