A teen who perished in a suspected drunken driving crash in San Jose early Tuesday morning has been identified as Roshan Rahbari, a former student at Leland High School. Rahbari, 18, was a passenger in a 2001 Ford Explorer that crashed and caught fire on Almaden Expressway near O’Grady Drive at about 3 a.m. Tuesday. The driver of the SUV, 18-year-old San Jose resident Mitchell Pennings, was arrested shortly after the crash. It appears Pennings lost control of the car and struck a light pole and tree, police said. Officers found Pennings down the street a short time later. Police Officer Jose Garcia said it appeared he was trying to hide from officers. They detected alcohol on his breath, he said. Emergency responders found Rahbari trapped in the burning car, and
pronounced him dead at the scene. Today, Leland High School principal Liz Chamberlin posted a letter to parents on the school’s website in response to Rahbari’s death. She said he had recently graduated from the school. “We are grieving his loss and want to let you know that we are working with grief counselors and community support agencies to ensure that all of our students have the support they need to help them understand the death of one of their classmates,” Chamberlin said. She said services are pending but that in the meantime, grief counselors would be available to students on campus. Pennings was booked into Santa Clara County’s main jail on charges of felony DUI, fleeing the scene of a crash and vehicular manslaughter. Garcia said police are awaiting the results of Pennings’ blood test to determine his blood-alcohol content.
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