Friday, April 19, 2024

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Driver accused of killing 3 teenagers in DUI crash pleads not guilty to murder

A woman charged with murder and driving under the influence in a March 29 crash that killed three Las Vegas teenagers in Huntington Beach pleaded not guilty Monday in Orange County Superior Court.

Bani Duarte, 27, of San Clemente was charged Friday with three counts of murder and one count of driving under the influence causing injury. She also faces a possible sentencing enhancement on allegations of inflicting great bodily injury, according to Orange County Superior Court records.

If convicted, she could be sentenced to 51 years to life in state prison, according to prosecutors.

Duarte was taken into custody about 1 p.m. Sunday in Downey on a $5-million warrant after investigators determined she may have intended to flee the country to avoid prosecution, authorities said. She is being held in Orange County Jail in Santa Ana.

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