News Releases

July 14, 2017: Two Charged for Alleged Street Race Which Ended in Deadly Crash

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Two 19-year-old men have been charged with the death of a driver killed in Torrance when both men allegedly raced on Pacific Coast Highway, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Luis Samaniego Barajas (dob 6/5/98) and Zachary Frank Leets (dob 3/24/98) both face one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter and engaging in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway causing a specified injury.

Deputy District Attorney David Zygielbaum said case YA096289 also alleges Leets fled the scene of the crime.

Leets pleaded not guilty to the charges yesterday while his co-defendant entered the same plea on June 15. Both are due back on Aug. 10 in Department 4 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Torrance Branch. The case was filed for warrant on June 6 and amended to include Leets on July 5.

On June 3, 2017, both defendants are alleged to have been racing on PCH when SamaniegoBarajas’ vehicle crashed against a center divider sending it airborne into oncoming traffic near 242nd Street, the prosecutor said.

The vehicle crashed head on with a car driven by Maximillian Rojas, 20, the prosecutor added. Rojas died as a result of his injuries. Leets allegedly fled the scene but was arrested and arraigned yesterday.

Samaniego Barajas faces six years in state prison if convicted as charged and Leets faces 11 years in prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Torrance Police Department.