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Unlicensed teenage driver charged in death of friend in car crash

An unlicensed, uninsured teenage driver was charged Monday with two felonies in the death of a friend who was riding with him when he crashed into a tree while allegedly under the influence of drugs.

Francisco Jesus Ochoa, 18, of Lake Elsinore was on his way to work when, according to authorities, his Ford swerved and weaved before veering off the road and into a tree.

His passenger, Margarita Estrella, was crushed in her seat and pronounced dead at the scene on Ortega Highway.  

Ochoa was taken to the hospital with a broken leg. He faces up to 10 years and eight months in state prison if convicted on the charges against him.   

"These are always just tragic cases for everyone involved," Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Nancy Hayashida said.

Authorities have said Ochoa was in possession of six Vicodin pills at the time of the crash, but Hayashida said investigators were still trying to determine what type of drug Ochoa had taken.


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— Matt Stevens

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