A 22-year-old man was charged Monday with gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with a fatal crash that investigators suspect was part of a series of street takeovers in Costa Mesa, Anaheim and possibly Santa Ana.
Myner Augusto Esquivelvalle, whose 23-year-old cousin Sergio Marroquin Jr. was killed in last week’s pre-dawn crash in Costa Mesa, also faces a sentencing enhancement allegation of inflicting great bodily injury as well as a county of reckless driving causing an injury.
The pickup truck the suspect was driving overturned at Sunflower and Hyland avenues about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Marroquin died at the scene, and a second passenger was hospitalized, according to Costa Mesa police spokeswoman Roxi Fyad.
The criminal complaint lists two other victims besides Marroquin, a man who suffered a wound “requiring extensive suturing” and an unnamed boy who suffered serious injuries.
The driver, who remained at the scene, was arrested, along with four spectators who were arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting, Fyad said.
About 80 to 100 vehicles converged on the location from Anaheim, where an earlier 1:30 a.m. collision in the 400 block of North Euclid Street landed an 18-year-old female bystander in a hospital, police said.
Preston James Shea, 19, of Anaheim was booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, reckless driving causing great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon, Anaheim police Sgt. Jacob Gallacher said. Shea bailed out of jail on Friday, according to jail records.
“When officers arrived, there was a parking lot full of 200 sport-type vehicles,” Gallacher said. “Several were doing doughnuts.”
The victim sustained moderate injuries and was expected to survive, he said.
Shea left personal contact information with a witness at the scene before driving away, helping police track him down about two hours later, Gallacher said. Witnesses also provided cell phone videos to police, he added.
It was unclear if Esquivelvalle was also at the Anaheim gathering, but police were told the motorists were headed to Costa Mesa so they alerted police there.
“We’re seeing it all across the Southland,” Gallacher said of the street takeovers by car enthusiasts.
“These are very challenging because there are so many people involved in these incidents,” Gallacher said, adding they are “very dangerous” because they involved inexperienced drivers attempting stunts.
“They’re doing burnouts and doughnuts in close proximity to spectators,” he said. “It’s really a recipe for disaster. It’s extremely unsafe.”
The collisions came during Teen Driver Awareness Week, Gallacher added. “We’re encouraging parents to talk to their teenage drivers” about car safety, he said.
Santa Ana police were called at 1:52 a.m. regarding street racing at 3 MacArthur Place. Several car clubs were gathered at the Home Depot at Edinger Avenue and Lyon Street for about an hour before leaving.
At about 1:30 a.m., one vehicle was doing doughnuts at Majestic Drive And Columbine Avenue and the driver was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving, as well as a felony DUI warrant, police said.
At 2 a.m., police were alerted about 30 vehicles at Maple Street and Columbine. In all, two drivers were arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and three vehicles were impounded, police said.
Costa Mesa police asked any witnesses to call them at 714-754-5264 to aid in the investigation.
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