Ernenwein & Johnson, LLP

Julie Esphorst Files Civil Lawsuit Against Drivers That Killed Her Son in a Car Crash

16-year-old athlete Jesse Esphorst Jr. was killed in a three-vehicle crash in Torrance last year. He was a varsity shortstop at South High School in Torrance and was a star athlete.

Jesse was killed on his way home from dinner after a successful game against the Hawthorne High Spartans. His father's mini van was hit on Crenshaw by a Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle and Audi A6 that had been racing and ran a red light while doing so. Tung Ming, a 22-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes resident, was driving the Mercedes and stopped at the scene. The other driver, 29 year-old- Darryl Leander Hicks, Jr. of Los Angeles, was driving the Audi and ditched his car.

Both men were charged with vehicular manslaughter and face up to more than 9 years each.

They had initially crashed on Silver Spur Road and Ming called 911. For more than a minute, the operator did not ask Ming to pull over but rather to attempt to read off Hicks' license plate instead. She advised him to stop pursuing but it was far too late.

His mother, Julie Esphorst, recently filed a civil lawsuit against the defendants because operators are trained and mandated to never to instruct a caller to pursue a suspect or take any action that would unnecessarily endanger the health and safety of the caller and or the general public.

The lawsuit also claims that the road conditions were dangerous and contributed to the crash by creating a chaotic traffic situation.

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