Suspected DUI driver pleads not guilty in Huntington Beach crash that killed 3 Las Vegas teens

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman pleaded not guilty Monday to allegedly driving under the influence and causing a crash in Huntington Beach that killed three Las Vegas teens.

Bani Duarte, through her attorney, pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder as well as driving under the influence of alcohol and causing bodily injury, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

The judge set her bail at $4 million, although prosecutors were asking for a higher bail of $5 million, describing Duarte as a flight risk.

Investigators said Duarte was speeding and driving under the influence when she rear-ended a car stopped at a red light at Magnolia Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach last month.

The impact pushed the vehicle through the intersection and slammed it into a pole, where it came to rest and burst into flames, authorities described.

Three high school seniors on spring break were killed in the fiery crash. The district attorney's office identified the deceased teens as: 17-year-old Brooke Hawley, 18-year-old Dylan Mack and 17-year-old Albert Rossi.

Duarte was arrested at the scene by Huntington Beach police and posted bond a few days later. Duarte was charged last Friday and re-arrested on Sunday.

She faces a maximum sentence of 51 years to life in state prison if convicted, the district attorney's office said. She is due back in court on Thursday for a bail review hearing.
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