VCU student killed in crash, driver arrested for DUI

Posted at 11:30 AM, Feb 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-23 15:16:47-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A Northern Virginia man was charged with driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a blood or breath test and felony manslaughter, according to a press release from the Richmond Police Department.

Police said Varinder Chahal, 23, of Springfield, Virginia, was driving a 2004 Mazda 6 westbound on Canal Street around 12:37 a.m. when he ran a red light and T-boned a 2007 Toyota Yaris traveling northbound on 2nd Street. [Read more]

Upon impact, the Yaris hit a nearby building.

A woman in the back seat of Yaris died as a result of her injuries.

Police identified the victim as 19-year-old Carolina Perez, of Virginia Beach. Perez was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, confirmed VCU spokeswoman Anne Buckley.

"I express tremendous sadness at the tragic loss of one of our students early today in a car crash in Richmond," VCU President Michael Rao wrote in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Carolina Perez, a 19-year-old biology major from Virginia Beach, who lost her life in the crash. Two other passengers in the car, also VCU students, are at VCU Medical Center being treated for injuries. We wish them a speedy and full recovery."

Dr. Rao added grief counseling was available at University Counseling Services in Room 238 at the Student Commons.

Police said the two other people in the Yaris suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Four people in Chahal's car were not injured.