The teenager facing vehicular manslaughter charges in a high-speed crash that killed two friends and seriously injured his girlfriend was cited two months prior for driving 90 mph on another local highway. Defense attorney Jim Dicks and prosecutor Minaz Bhayani explain in this report from NBC 7's Rory Devine.
The teenager facing vehicular manslaughter charges in a high-speed crash that killed two friends and seriously injured his girlfriend was cited two months prior for driving 90 mph on another local highway prosecutors said Friday.
Appearing in an orange shirt, the teenager answered “Yes, your honor” to all the questions posed to him. It is NBCSanDiego's policy not to identify minors charged with a crime.
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Two cars were traveling over 100 mph on State Route 52 on April 4 when one car lost control near Convoy Street and flipped, ejecting Campbell and Foreman who died instantly according to officials.
The juvenile was driving with a restricted license, and was not supposed to be driving past 11 p.m. or with anyone else in the vehicle officials said at the time of the crash.
According to defense attorney Jim Dicks, the teenager told officials that he attempted to pass a car, pushed the gas and the accelerator stuck.
He said his client told this to California Highway Patrol officers, firefighters and emergency crews in the moments after the crash.
The prosecutor told Judge Browder Willis that a preliminary finding by the CHP showed that there was no defect in the juvenile's car.
The defense requested the teenager be released to the custody of his parents where he could be homeschooled, would wear a bracelet and would surrender his drivers license.
"I think shock is starting to wear off," Attorney Jim Dicks told NBCSanDiego. "He’s now sitting in custody, he’s 24 hours by himself, and he’s obviously distraught and depressed over his girlfriend being injured and other kids getting killed."
"As adults it’s got to be hard to take can you imagine at 16 dealing with this type of [thing] it’s horrible for him," Dicks said.
Prosecutor Minaz Bhayani told the judge the teenager had been issued a speeding citation for driving over 90 mph in a 65 mph zone on State Route 125 in February.
Since the teenager did not learn from that violation, the prosecutor argued, the minor should be kept in detention for the safety of the community and himself.
"It was so recent and then we have another situation where it is alleged that’s he’s been doing 100 to 110 mph that’s pretty catastrophic," Bhayani told NBCSanDiego.
The defendant’s mother is a stay-at-home mom and his father works at Caltrans and will be home in the early afternoon, the defense attorney argued. The teenager’s grandmother, who was also in attendance at the hearing, will be involved as well.
He is fully insured with solid ties to the community and is “doing quite well” as a junior at Santana High School the attorney said.
The defense also argued that the medical isolation ordered for the defendant, who had suffered an injury in the crash, was not good for him and that he needed to be home with his family at such a young age.
Judge Broward Willis however ordered the teenager to be held in detention based on the prior speeding citation, the fact that the driver in the crash was allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed in and out of traffic and the fact that the crash was catastrophic.
He also ordered a psychological evaluation of the defendant.
Judge Willis told the defendant he has the hardest job of all.
“This is serious and life-altering. But this does not define who you are,” Willis told the teenager.
It is your reality for the time being and you need to adjust to it, the judge told him.
When the teenager gets out of medical isolation and put into general population, the judge told him it will be “more important than ever to keep your head together there. That’s the important thing. Let the attorney do his business."
The teenager is charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, two allegations of great bodily injury and three counts of speed contest with injury.
Jayli Campbell, 16, was a Santana High School student. Anthony Foreman, 18, was an El Capitan High School student who friends called "Big Sweat."
Charlotte McQuillen, 15, is hospitalized with serious injuries she suffered in the crash. On Monday, shortly after Charlotte awoke from a coma, family members said they don't blame the driver in the crash who also happens to be Charlotte's boyfriend.
“We have no hard feelings toward him,” one aunt said Monday. "We love the kid."
“He just made a stupid mistake as kids do, they think they’re invincible but let this be a lesson to them please, please no shenanigans while driving,” said grandmother Sandy McQuillen.
The driver of the second car involved in the alleged street racing, Michael Johnson, 18, was arrested immediately after the crash.
Johnson has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and speed contest resulting in injuries to another.