SoCal Woman Found Guilty In DUI Deaths Of 3 LV Teens

Defense Said Actions Didn't Equate To Murder

Mitch Kelly
September 26, 2019 - 7:33 am

Huntington Beach PD

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LAS VEGAS, NV (KXNT) - A jury took a little less than two hours before convicting a southern California woman of second-degree murder in the deaths of three Centennial High School students in a fiery DUI crash.

The crash happened back in March of 2018. A car being driven by 28 year old Bani Duarte slammed into the back of a car that was stopped at a light on the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. It was estimated that the car Duarte was driving was traveling close to 80 miles per hour at the time. Her blood alcohol level two hours after the crash was still over three times the legal limit. 

18 year old Dylan Mack, and 17 year olds Brooke Hawley and Albert Rossi were all killed by the impact of the crash. A 4th person in that car survived, but has lasting injuries from that night.

Duarte's lawyers admitted that their client was driving under the influence and caused the crash. They objected to the charges of murder, saying that Duarte's actions don't rise to that level. 

Last August, Duarte pleaded not guilty to three counts of 2nd degree murder and one count of driving under the influence causing injuriy

It wasn't Duarte's first brush with the law regarding drinking and driving. The San Clemente, California resident was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI back in 2016.

Duarte now faces a sentence of 51 years to life. Her sentencing date is October 30th.