One of two men convicted in connection with a crash that killed a 16-year-old high school baseball player and seriously injured his father was sentenced Wednesday to two years and eight months in state prison.

Jurors convicted Tung Ming, 24, and his co-defendant Darryl Leander Hicks Jr., 32, of one felony count each of gross vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving causing injury or death.

Hicks was also convicted of one felony count each of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person and hit-and-run driving resulting in specified injury, along with one misdemeanor count each of hit-and-run driving causing property damage involving an earlier crash into Ming’s vehicle and driving on a suspended license, according to Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould.

Jurors also found true allegations that Hicks fled the scene of the deadly crash.

Hicks is facing up to 12 years in state prison, with sentencing set July 16 in a Torrance courtroom, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The case stems from a March 7, 2017, crash in which South High School student Jesse Esphorst Jr. died and his father was hurt.

A 2004 Audi A6 driven by Hicks — who lived in Los Angeles at the time — and a 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 driven by Ming — who lived in Rancho Palos Verdes — 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 about 10 that night, according to Torrance police.

The Audi and Mercedes-Benz had been involved in a minor collision earlier, and Ming — in the Mercedes-Benz — was chasing Hicks — in the Audi — when they both ran the red light, and both hit the Toyota minivan, police said.

“After the collision, the Audi fled northbound on Crenshaw and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 stayed at the scene,” according to a Torrance police statement. Investigators said the Audi was located a short time later near the scene, unoccupied.

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

Both men were ordered to be taken into custody after the jury’s verdict.

Ming addressed the victim’s family in court during his sentencing, saying, “I wake up every day wishing he was still alive,” according to the Daily Breeze, which reported that the victim’s mother had asked Judge Amy Carter to order Ming to perform community service instead of time in prison.

At a May 2017 court hearing, Ming’s then-attorney, Richard A. Hutton, told a judge his client had been involved in a minor crash with Hicks, called 911 and chased after him.

Ming remained at the scene of the deadly crash, was “perfectly sober” and had no criminal record, Hutton said then.

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *