IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — An unlicensed teenage driver who was at the wheel during a fiery freeway crash in Irvine last year that killed five of his friends was charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Bradley Morales was booked Friday on five counts, the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1Vvt6X7) reported Saturday. He was also charged with driving without a license and failing to show proof of insurance.
Morales was in custody at the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center on Saturday and it couldn't immediately be determined if he had retained a lawyer.
The driver, who was 16 at the time of the crash, was returning with his friends from the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park early on the morning of Oct. 4, 2014, when the BMW he was driving careened off a freeway and burst into flames. The crash sparked a small brushfire.
Morales, who was hospitalized with a head injury, was the only survivor. Authorities said he told them he and friends were returning from the amusement park's annual Knott's Scary Farm Halloween festival.
"Our investigators took a great deal of time and painstakingly went over this case to ensure a thorough and comprehensive investigation was complete," Capt. R. Shackleford of the California Highway Patrol said of taking a year to bring charges.
Investigators called the crash "horrific," noting the roof of the car was flattened and it had burn marks.
Three teenage boys and two teenage girls were killed. The boys, ages 14 and 15, all played on the same soccer team and had a game scheduled later that morning.
Of those killed, only two were wearing seatbelts.
This story has been corrected to show the last name of the teenager arrested is Morales.