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Police ID man killed in head-on collision

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett police have identified a 20-year-old man killed in a head-on collision Sunday night.

Leonel Vargas of Lawrenceville was traveling north on Lawrenceville Highway when 15-year-old Jeffrey Kim Aviles lost control of his Toyota Celica, crossing into Vargas' lane and colliding with the 20-year-old's Honda Civic, said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.

Vargas died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. Police have charged Aviles in the accident, which police believe resulted from racing another vehicle.

The accident also sent two passengers in the Civic to the hospital with minor injuries. None of the occupants of the Civic was wearing a seat belt, Spellman said.

Marco Torres, 16, and 18-year-old Cruz Valdez suffered minor injuries. Both attend Central Gwinnett High School, said Jorge Quintana, the school district's spokesman.

Valdez was released from Gwinnett Medical Center on Sunday, hospital spokesman Kyle Brogdon, told the Gwinnett Daily Post on Monday. Because Torres is underage, Brogdon said he could not release any information about him.

Passengers in the Celica were released from local hospitals Tuesday. A 12-year-old girl was released from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, and a 15-year-old girl was discharged from Grady Memorial Hospital Tuesday morning, hospital officials said. Spellman said one of the girls is pregnant, but she did not know which one, on Monday.

Both girls are enrolled in Gwinnett County Public Schools, but Quintana said he could not confirm which schools because they are minors.

The Celica also struck a Chevrolet Suburban traveling behind the Civic, but the driver, 31-year-old Angela Cheek of Lawrenceville, was not injured, Spellman said.

Aviles has been charged with operating a motor vehicle without a valid license, failure to maintain a lane and second-degree vehicular homicide, Spellman said. Because these are misdemeanor charges, Aviles was released to his mother, who will be responsible for ensuring he appears in court.

The boy is not enrolled in any of the county's schools, Quintana said.

Police said if evidence concludes Aviles was racing, additional charges could be filed.

"This is an active investigation, and it's going to take some time for investigators to figure that out," Spellman answered when asked about the alleged racing. "There are no new developments."