O.C. Woman Convicted in DUI Crash That Killed 3 Teens on Spring Break in Huntington Beach

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Bani Duarte is shown in a photo released by the Huntington Beach Police Department on March 29, 2018.
Bani Duarte is shown in a photo released by the Huntington Beach Police Department on March 29, 2018.

A woman was found guilty Tuesday of murder in a drunken driving crash that left three Las Vegas teens dead last spring in Huntington Beach, officials said.

A jury convicted 29-year-old Bani Duarte on three counts of murder and one count of driving under the influence with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury in the March 29, 2018, incident, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The crash killed 17-year-olds Brooke Hawley and Albert Rossi and 18-year-old Dylan Mack, who were driving down Pacific Coast Highway while visiting Southern California during their high school’s spring break.

The teens’ red Toyota was stopped at a red light at Magnolia Street shortly after 1 a.m. when Duarte allegedly failed to stop for the light. Her white Hyundai Sonata was traveling at a high speed and rear-ended the Toyota, investigators said.

The force of the impact was strong enough to push the Toyota through the intersection and into a pole, where it burst into flames, officials said.

All three victims died at the scene. A fourth, unidentified teen driving in their vehicle survived but suffered serious injuries, including burns and a concussion, according to prosecutors.

Duarte was arrested at scene and posted bond a few days later. However, she was arrested again the next month on a $5 million warrant after authorities deemed her a flight risk.

The defendant’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled, officials said.

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