Driver in Porter Ranch car crash that killed two teens will face charges, police say Two suspects face charges that could bring a second death penalty
ALAMEDA, Calif. — A driver from Las Vegas who crashed into a pickup truck carrying two teenage boys who were riding as passengers killed the teens last fall, authorities allege, adding that the driver left behind an open bottle of alcohol.
The incident, which authorities believe was not a one-time fluke, led to a second death penalty case in California’s Central Valley, the same prosecutor in the most recent death penalty case in Los Angeles County said Friday.
Authorities have taken into custody the suspected driver in the Porter Ranch crash last fall who killed the two boys and left behind an open bottle of alcohol, and charged him with two crimes.
The alleged driver, 23-year-old Michael T. Smith of Las Vegas, was charged with one count each of second-degree murder and driving under the influence of alcohol.
He was also charged with two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, both second-degree felonies, for failing to remain at the scene of the crash on April 18, 2017, and for causing great bodily injury.
Another suspected driver, 28-year-old Jose Salazar of Los Angeles, was charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, also a second-degree felony.
Authorities allege Smith had been drinking at least four beers, according to the criminal complaint unsealed by the Kern County district attorney’s office. He was released early Thursday.
The complaint describes Smith as a “drunk driver” and says he “continued to drive and did not take any action to stop” the crash that killed the two 18-year-old boys in an SUV and a pickup truck.
In the complaint, the lead investigator for the crash, Detective Steve DeLeon, wrote: “The victim sustained serious injuries and died as a result of those injuries and because of his consumption of alcohol prior to the collision. The alcohol concentration of the victim’s blood was 0.