A Perris man accused of taking part in an illegal street race in Mead Valley two weeks ago that resulted in the deaths of two young brothers was arrested in the state of Washington, authorities announced Tuesday.
Josue Leyvas Gallegos, 30, was taken into custody by U.S. marshals on Friday in Kent, Washington, about 19 miles south of Seattle, while attempting to register a vehicle at a DMV office, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Dan Olivas.
Authorities allege a May 15 illegal street race involving Gallegos and a second man, Ricardo Zuniga, resulted in the deaths of Dominick Gonzales, 6, and his 8-year-old brother, Antonio “Tony” Gonzales.
The boys were riding in a Nissan Versa with their older brother when the compact car was struck head-on about 5:40 p.m. on Oakwood Street, east of Brown Street, by a Honda Accord driven by Zuniga, who was allegedly racing with Gallegos, who was driving a 2002 Nissan Altima, according to authorities.
The Accord was traveling east in the westbound lanes, Olivas said, and crested a hill before slamming head-on into the Versa. Riverside County Fire Department paramedics reached the location within a few minutes and rushed the children to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where they died less than an hour later.
Their brother was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Family members said Luis Gonzales was taking his younger brothers with him to retrieve their sisters from an after-school program when the collision happened.
Zuniga was hospitalized with moderate injuries and has been charged with two counts of murder. He is due back in court on June 27 for a settlement conference.
The CHP tracked Gallegos down by working with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Two counts each of vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene of a crime were filed against Gallegos on Friday. The Altima has not been found.
Anyone who has information about the collision, including photographs and cellphone video, is asked to contact the Riverside CHP’s Accident Investigation Unit at (951) 637-8000.