20-year-old man arrested in connection to Labor Day crash that killed Lakeside High studentsEmanuel Esfahani was arrested after he turned himself in on Tuesday and was booked into Gwinnett County Jail. He faces 10 charges, including five counts of first-degree homicide by vehicle, reckless driving, racing and speeding, booking records show. Photo provided by Atlanta News First.
By Hope Dean, Atlanta News First
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection to a Labor Day crash that left five teenagers dead, according to Gwinnett County police.
Emanuel Esfahani was arrested after he turned himself in on Tuesday and was booked into Gwinnett County Jail. He faces 10 charges, including five counts of first-degree homicide by vehicle, reckless driving, racing and speeding, booking records show.
No bond has been set for the homicide by vehicle charges, but a cash bond has been set at $6,500 for the five others collectively.
Detectives believe that Esfahani, who was driving an Infiniti G35, was racing a Toyota Tacoma driven by 18-year-old Hung Nguyen near 4 a.m. The cars were reportedly going more than 100 miles per hour on the exit ramp from State Route 316 to Pleasant Hill Road when they split around a vehicle driving slower.
The Infiniti swerved to avoid a box truck, hitting the Tacoma and causing it to spin and roll. The Tacoma then slammed into the retention wall, soaring over it and falling onto another ramp 37 feet below, police said.
All five passengers in the Tacoma died. The victims were identified as:
— Hung Nguyen
— Katy Gaitan, 17
— Ashley Gaitan, 16
— Coral Lorenzo, 17
— Abner Santana, 19
Three of those killed were students at Lakeside High School in DeKalb County, Gwinnett police said.
Three others were also injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.
The teens are being mourned by their families and the community. Auner Amexquita, the father of Abner Santana, said his son had many friends and made his teachers proud.
“He never gave me any trouble,” he told Atlanta News First. “I really miss my son. I really miss him.”
Lakeside High School Principal Susan Stoddard sent a letter about the crash to school families.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students affected during this challenging period,” the letter said. “We can only imagine the enormous pain and sorrow they are going through, and we are here to support and uplift them in any way we can.”
Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.