A judge's gavel. Photo via Pixabay.
A judge’s gavel. Photo via Pixabay.

A convicted felon accused of racing a 19-year-old driver on the Riverside (91) Freeway until their two cars crashed, causing a fire that killed the young man, was charged Thursday with second-degree murder.

Marcos Calderon, 25, of Riverside was arrested in the predawn hours Tuesday, immediately after the deadly wreck on the eastbound Riverside Freeway near Buchanan Street.

Calderon is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside and is slated to make his initial court appearance Friday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Calderon and the victim, whose name is pending release by the coroner’s office, allegedly started their race about 12:45 a.m., accelerating to speeds in excess of 100 mph while trying to out-maneuver one another in eastbound lanes.

Calderon was driving a Nissan Altima, and the victim was at the wheel of a BMW 550 sedan, CHP Officer Juan Quintero said.

When the two drivers encountered slower traffic on the west end of Riverside, they “lost control of their respective vehicles and veered off of the freeway in a southerly direction,” Quintero said.

Calderon’s car stopped in a parking lot adjacent to the freeway, but the victim’s BMW “struck a tree and immediately caught fire,” Quintero said.

The driver was unable to exit the vehicle and died before Riverside Fire Department personnel reached the scene and knocked down the flames, according to Quintero.

Calderon was examined at a hospital and cleared for booking into the downtown jail.

Calderon’s prior offenses occurred in another jurisdiction and were not disclosed in court documents.

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