MANTECA, Calif. - One teenager is dead and three more were hospitalized Saturday after, investigators say, a distracted driver crashed into a group of people.
The crash happened overnight near the intersection of Yosemite Avenue and Comconex Road in Manteca. Investigators said 19-year-old Mia Aguiar was driving west on Yosemite Avenue and had just passed the intersection when she took her eyes off the road.
The group of four teens -- three boys, ages 14, 15 and 16, and a 16-year-old girl -- were walking along the north shoulder just after 1 a.m. That's when Aguiar drove off the road and crashed into them, California Highway Patol investigators said.
"There's no indication for us to believe that there's alcohol and/ or drugs involved," CHP Officer James Smith said. "It appears that the driver of the vehicle reached down to locate a cell phone."
Paramedics rushed the injured teens to nearby hospitals. A 14-year-old boy died of his injuries. Authorities have not released the teens' names, but the CHP describes the survivors' injuries as one minor, one moderate and one major.
Aguiar was taken into custody Saturday morning for one count of vehicular manslaughter.
Investigators hope the case will serve as a warning to all drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.
"Anything that distracts a person's attention away from the primary task of driving, it endangers everybody involved, bystanders, other motorists, passengers in the vehicle," Smith said. "It endangers everyone."
Maneteca resident Bruce Jordan, who lives near the scene of the crash, said he is frustrated with the growing problem of distracted driving, particularly among young drivers.
"When my cell phone rings while I'm driving, I just totally ignore it," Manteca resident Bruce Jordan said. "It can wait. It's not that important for me to pick up my phone to see who it is."