Charges have been dropped against one of two teenage boys accused in the death of a Mission Hills High School student after prosecutors failed to prove that the teens were racing at the time of a deadly crash, a judge ruled Tuesday.
A second teenager, who will not be named because he is facing charges in juvenile court, has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge and charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving causing great bodily injury in the crash on May 12, 2018.
On that day, high school senior Lauren Wolford was walking on a sidewalk less than a mile from her school when she was struck by a black BMW in the 500 block of E. Mission Road.
Prosecutors tried to argue that the two boys were racing at speeds over 80 miles per hour at the time Wolford, a twin and one of four siblings, was hit.
In front of a packed courtroom filled with family from both sides, Judge William Wood said that while the case was exceptionally emotional and tragic, he found insufficient evidence the teens were racing.
[G] Mission Hills HS Senior Killed While Walking on Sidewalk
Lawyers for the boy who still faces charges argue that the boy dropped his phone while driving and briefly looked down. As he started to swerve, he accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake.
After days of testimony, the trial is expected to wrap up this week, at which time the judge will decide the boy's fate.
There is no jury because the case is in juvenile court.