A 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, made his initial court appearance Friday but did not enter a plea.
Marcos Calderon, 25, of Riverside was arrested in the predawn hours Tuesday, immediately after the deadly wreck on the eastbound 91 Freeway near Buchanan Street. He was charged Thursday with second-degree murder.
Calderon, whose arraignment was rescheduled for April 23 at the Riverside Hall of Justice, is being held on $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
The California Highway Patrol alleges Calderon and the victim, whose name has yet to be released by the coroner’s office, started racing 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 19-year-old 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,” he 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.