Anurag Chandra, an Indian-American man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder on Friday after he intentionally rammed the car of teens who had played a doorbell-ringing prank at his house in 2020.

File photo Anurag Chandra. (The Press Enterprise)
File photo Anurag Chandra. (The Press Enterprise)

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According to authorities, three teenage boys died and three others were injured when they were struck by a car driven by Anurag Chandra, and the vehicle they were in careened off the roadway and into a pole in Riverside County, reported NBC news.

“The murder of these young men was a horrendous and senseless tragedy for our community,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “This is an important step toward justice.”

As per the report, Chandra, who was “extremely, extremely mad” from the prank, testified that he drank 12 beers in the hours before the crash and had been driving 99 mph (159 kph) before the collision. He said he was worried about his family’s safety and he followed the teens to express his anger. He stated that he never intended to strike the teens’ car, but rear-ended them after the Prius braked suddenly, the Press-Enterprise reported.

All three victims who died in the crash on January 19, 2020, were 16-year-olds.

Sergio Campusano, who was driving the car told the NBC news that one of the boys rang the man’s doorbell and ran back to their awaiting vehicle as part of a prank known as doorbell ditch or ding-dong ditch.

The teens fled in a Prius car, with Campusano behind the wheel, but soon they realized the target of the prank was pursuing them, he said. The man struck the rear of the teens’ car, causing it to go off the pavement, said the boy.

“I whipped into my window and I blacked out and then I remember I woke up on the floor,” Campusano said. “I don’t remember how I got there. I was shaking.”

Chandra, who was facing criminal charges in connection with alleged domestic violence in 2020 when the killings occurred, faces life without the possibility of parole when he’s sentenced July 14.