07.14.2022 | 5:00 PM | ORANGE – Prosecutors charged a 19-year-old unlicensed driver in connection with a fiery ejection crash that is now said to have occurred during a high-speed pursuit, according to Thursday evening press release.
Azarie Dupree Fuller, 19, of Exeter, was charged in connection with the fiery Jul. 9, 2022 crash that ejected seven people, three of whom died, from a Nissan Altima he was driving.
Authorities now say that Fuller, who was driving without a valid license, came to a screeching stop behind an Orange police cruiser that was stopped in a turn lane on West Lincoln Avenue, just west of Glassell Street, around 2:47 AM.
The officers, who were in the patrol vehicle, initiated a pursuit as Fuller made a U-turn, turned off his Altima’s lights, and sped away at speeds in excess of 100 MPH.
Just a mile after the chase began Fuller lost control of the Altima which left the roadway on North Glassell Street, north of East Taft avenue, before striking multiple poles and becoming engulfed in flames.
Seven occupants from the Altima, including Fuller, were ejected from the crash and left littered around the wreckage.
Dayanara Rebolledo, 14, Dominic McGinley, 17, and Gustavo Castro, 26, of Garden Grove, were all pronounced deceased at the scene. Three other passengers, including two 14-year-olds and one 17-year-old, were injured in the crash.
Fuller is facing three counts of murder, one count of evading while driving recklessly and causing death, three counts of child endangerment by a caretaker, all felonies, along with one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid license and an infraction for speeding in excess of 100 MPH. If convicted of all counts Fuller could be sentenced to 45-years-to-life in prison plus 14 years.
Police previously made no mention of a pursuit being initiated and, instead, said that officers only observed the Altima speeding by before coming across its wreckage.
Fuller, who remains hospitalized, is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 4, 2022. His bail is set at $3.55 million.
Despite evidence of alcohol and nitrous oxide (NOS) reportedly found at the scene of the crash Fuller was not charged with DUI, according to the press release.