SANTA ANA, Calif. - A 19-year-old man was charged Thursday with three counts of second-degree murder stemming from a police pursuit that killed three of his passengers -- a 26-year-old man and a pair of teens -- and injured four others in Orange.
Azarie Dupree Fuller of Exeter, in Tulare County, was also charged with evading a peace officer causing death, three counts of child abuse and endangerment, all felonies, as well as a misdemeanor count of driving without a valid driver's license, according to court records. He was also issued a ticket for speeding beyond 100 miles per hour.
Fuller is accused of killing Gustavo Castro of Garden Grove as well as two teens, one female and one male, whose names were not immediately released.
Fuller was behind the wheel of a Nissan Altima that crashed early Saturday at Glassell Street north of Taft Avenue, according to Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.
Police were on patrol about 2:47 a.m. when the officers saw the Nissan sail past them at a high rate of speed on Glassell from Lincoln Avenue, McMullin said.
As officers attempted to track down the speeding vehicle, they found it fully engulfed in flames, McMullin said.
Fuller and two teens, one male and one female, were taken to local hospitals in critical condition, he said.
Police recovered a nitrous oxide tank and balloons at the scene, he said. Nitrous oxide, which is referred to as "laughing gas" is a sedative used by physicians and dentists and can be abused as an intoxicant.
Police believe the occupants were not wearing seat belts, as there were seven people in a car meant to seat five, McMullin told City News Service.