Two drivers charged in fatal Torrance crash that killed high school student


Two drivers that allegedly struck a 16-year-old Torrance baseball player fatally while involved in a chase have been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter according to a release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. 

Both 28-year-old Darryl Leander Hicks Jr., and 21-year-old Tung Ming face a count of reckless driving on a highway causing injuries and death according to a news release from the DA's office.

On March 7, Hicks is accused of crashing into Ming and then fleeing the scene near Crenshaw Boulevard and Silver Spur Road. Ming allegedly began chasing Hicks and both defendants ran a red light near Crenshaw Boulevard and Crest Road, the prosecutor said.

Both defendants are accused of crashing into a vehicle, killing Jesse E. Esphorst, 16, and seriously injuring the driver, Esphorst’s father, the prosecutor added. Hicks is charged with also fleeing the scene of the fatal crash.

The vehicular manslaughter charge also includes allegations that Hicks and Ming have inflicted great bodily injury on another person. 

According to prosecutors, on March 7th, Hicks in a 2004 Audi A6 allegedly crashed into Ming's vehicle near Crenshaw Boulevard. Ming began pursuing Hicks in his 2014 Merecedes-Benz. After the two defendants ran a red light on Crenshaw, they slammed into Ephorst's 2009 Toyota Sienna who was making a left turn. 

Esphorst died in the crash authorities said. The driver, Esphorst's 47-year-old father, was seriously injured in the crash and was rushed to intensive care after the accident. 

Esphorst was a sophmore who played shortstop for the South High School baseball team in Torrance. He and his father were returning from post-game dinner when the fatal accident occurred. 

If convicted, Hicks (who fled the scene of the second crash), faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison. Ming, who remained at the site of the accident, could face up to 9 years in state prison if convicted. 


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