Man 'intentionally' rammed car into Prius full of teens, killing 3, police say

Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY

A California man allegedly rammed his car into a Toyota Prius with six teenagers inside, killing three of them and injuring the others before fleeing, authorities say.

Anurag Chandra, 42, was arrested on three counts of murder after police said he drove his car into the Prius, caused it to hit a tree and then fled, the California Highway Patrol said in a statement.

"It was an intentional act," Lt. David Yokley told reporters at a news conference. "Our investigation led us to believe Mr. Chandra intentionally rammed the Prius, causing the driver to lose control."

The crash occurred before 10:30 p.m. Sunday in Temescal Valley, roughly 60 miles outside Los Angeles.

The Riverside County Fire Department posted a statement on Facebook saying that a single car with six occupants hit a tree and that three of the car's occupants had to be extricated.

One of the teens died at the scene, and the other five were taken to the hospital, where two of them died, according to KCAL-TV.

CHP said in a statement that all of the deceased were under 18. The three occupants who survived did not sustain life-threatening injuries, the agency said. 

Witnesses followed Chandra, driving an Infiniti Q50, after he allegedly fled and reported the crash to police, CHP said. Chandra was arrested in a neighborhood nearby without incident, the agency said.

Yokley did not disclose a motive for the crash.

"We really don't know," Yokley said, according to the Orange County Register. "Obviously, there was some sort of contact. We are looking into those exact same questions, of whether or not he was known to the victims."

Contributing: Jordan Culver; The Associated Press. Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California man intentionally hit car into Prius near LA, police say