Torrance Police Department car. Photo by John Schreiber.

A young man was charged Tuesday with vehicular manslaughter for a deadly head-on crash in Torrance that police said might have involved a race between the suspect and another motorist who kept going.

Luis Samaniego Barajas — who turned 20 on Monday — is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in a Torrance courtroom on the felony count stemming from the death of Maximillian Rojas.

Rojas, 20, of Harbor City, died at the scene of the crash at 11:50 p.m. Saturday on Pacific Coast Highway at 242nd Street.

Barajas was hospitalized after the crash.

“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,” Torrance police Sgt. Ronald 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, allegedly 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 taken to a hospital. One was hospitalized in stable condition, and the other was treated for a minor injury and released. Their names were withheld.

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

–City News Service

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