Update: Driver charged in deadly Chesterfield County accident - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Update: Driver charged in deadly Chesterfield County accident

Luis Mendez Luis Mendez
Erick Munoz Erick Munoz

CHESTERFIELD, VA - Chesterfield Police have charged 18-year-old Erick Munoz with felony hit and run, grand larceny, and driving without a license.

Investigators say he was driving a car that crashed early Saturday on West Providence Road. Another teen in the car, 17-year-old Luis Mendez, was killed.

Police say 4 people were in the car that night. Three were James River High School students-- there was also a 22-year-old passenger. Police say all four, were thrown from the car in the accident.

Despite being thrown from the car, the surviving passengers only had non-life threatening injuries. But, they could all face charges.

"Any time you leave the scene of an accident and you don't call or look for help for the victim, it's always criminal. You can be criminally negligent as a passenger," said Sgt. Jim Profita with Chesterfield County Police.

The driver, Erick Munoz, is being held without bond on several charges. Police say he didn't have a license. They also tell us alcohol was found at the scene, none of the passengers wore seat belts and the car was stolen.

"It's always bad when a young person loses their life and robbed of a future," said Profita. "So, it's hard and frustrating that message of putting your seat belt on isn't getting out."

At James River High School, teachers broke the news of the accident to students early this morning. School officials say they did have extra counselors and support staff on site to help them work through this.

Students who shared a class with Mendez took a note home, distributed in Spanish and in English. It says Luis was a friend to many and will be missed. It also gives parents advice for helping students. For those who knew Luis, devastating doesn't' begin to describe the loss.

"He was a great guy down to earth towards everything. Cool guy. That I can call brother. You know, he was more than a friend,: said George Vasquez, a longtime friend. 

"I just want to say he's in a better place and I hope everyone keeps the family in their prayers," added Ana Bravo.

Police say this investigation is ongoing. They believe the people in the car were drinking and want to know when and where they were doing it. They also reminded us that Chesterfield County has an 11pm curfew and this accident happened several hours later.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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