Los Angeles County is being sued by the father of a Torrance high school baseball player, who alleges a 911 operator encouraged a driver to continue chasing a hit-run driver, ultimately leading to a second crash that killed the plaintiff’s 16-year-old son.

The father of the late Jesse Eric Esphorst also is suing Caltrans, the city of Torrance, driver Darryl Leander Hicks Jr., 29, of Los Angeles, who is accused of fleeing the scene of the March 7, 2017, crash that killed the South High School student, and 22-year-old Tung Ming of Rancho Palos Verdes, who allegedly was urged by the 911 operator to maintain his pursuit of Hicks.

“Give me the license plate when you can … is there any way you can get a license plate on the vehicle?,” the 911 operator told Ming during the pursuit, according to the negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of Jesse Franklin Esphorst on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

A representative for Los Angeles County could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hicks and Ming are both charged with vehicular manslaughter and are awaiting a June 4 pretrial hearing in Torrance Superior Court.

Both drivers were traveling at speeds up to 100 mph, the suit alleges.

According to Torrance police, a 2004 Audi A6 driven by Hicks and a 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 driven by Ming were northbound on Crenshaw Boulevard when the drivers failed to stop for a red light and crashed into the Esphorsts’ 2000 Toyota Sienna, which was turning left from southbound Crenshaw Boulevard to eastbound Crest Road in Torrance about 10 p.m.

Hicks and Ming had been involved in a minor collision earlier, according to the suit, which states that Ming called 911 and was pursuing Hicks’ car when both motorists ran the red light and hit the Toyota van.

At the time of the collision with the van, the 911 operator was still on the line with Ming, waiting for him to provide Hicks’ license plate number, the suit says.

Hicks fled northbound on Crenshaw and Ming stayed at the scene, according to Torrance police.

Ming was arrested that morning, then released later that day on bond. Hicks was arrested two days after the crash, and was released a day later on bond.

If convicted as charged, Hicks faces more than 12 years in prison, while Ming faces up to nine years, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Baseball coach Grady Sain told the Daily Breeze that the teen and his father had been on their way home after having dinner with the boy’s grandmother.

A day after the crash, the baseball team gathered on the diamond around the teen’s shortstop position, and that afternoon, about 750 current and former students, coaches and faculty members filled the South High field in his honor.

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