The teenage driver of a Lamborghini who killed a secretary on her way home from work has been charged over the crash.
Brendan Khuri, 17, was behind the wheel of the sports car when it crashed into Monique Munoz, 32, in February. His entrepreneur father gave it him for his 17th birthday.
He plowed into Munoz, who was driving her Lexus sedan home from work, killing her and injuring himself. He was taken to the hospital with what his family lawyer described as a brain injury. It’s unclear what kind of condition he is in now.
The teenager was arrested for vehicular manslaughter in March but no charges were filed initially.
On Wednesday, the L.A. District Attorney’s Office announced that it had filed charges but that it won’t reveal what those charges are – or if he is being charged as a juvenile or adult – until April 23, when he is arraigned.
Brendan Khuri, 17, pictured with his father James, has been charged over the crash in February
Monique Munoz died in the two vehicle crash in LA. The 32-year-old secretary was trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene, LAFD said. She was planning to go to law school
Last month, LAPD sources told DailyMail.com that they’d recommended charges and were waiting for prosecutors to act.
‘We’ve done a filing,’ Supervising Detective James Dickson of the LAPD’s West Traffic department told DailyMail.com. ‘That filing was presented to the LA County Juvenile DA. It’s currently in his office.
‘The arrest charge was 192(c)(1), negligent vehicular manslaughter.
‘I can’t regurgitate what we found, but based upon multiple witness statements that corroborate one another, it’s clear that there was gross negligence.’
Dickson said he believed the Lamborghini was racing with an Audi, which was also found at the scene but was not involved in the crash.
‘We believe that that vehicle was potentially engaged in a speed contest with the Lamborghini. That’s a separate investigation and that’s ongoing so I’m not willing to comment at the moment, but we do believe that it was involved,’ he said.
The detective added that Brendan was absentee booked while in hospital. A lawyer for the Khuri family, criminal defense attorney Mark Werksman, denied Brendan was racing.
Dickson said that ‘from evidence recovered and eyewitness accounts the vehicle was being operated at an unsafe speed.’
Under a picture of a Lamborghini race car on an LA street posted in December on Instagram, the the teen’s father James Khuri wrote ‘Fun Friday afternoon racing another Lamborghini SVJ on Sunset. Of course going speed limit.’
Those posts have since been deleted.
Werksman said in a statement to DailyMail.com: ‘The Khuri family is devastated by the tragic accident on February 17, 2021 that caused the death of Monique Munoz. Their hearts go out to the Munoz family for their incomparable loss.
‘Lawyers for the Khuri family and the Munoz family have worked out a financial settlement in order to allow the families to heal, and they are in the process of finalizing those details. They ask for privacy during this sad and traumatic time.
‘And while I will not discuss the details of the case or the factual allegations with you, I can tell you that there was no racing going on with any other vehicle at the time of the crash. The allegation that there was racing going on at the time of impact is simply false.’
Werksman later contacted DailyMail.com, asking to change his original statement to clarify that a settlement had not yet been agreed with Munoz’s family.
‘The parties are working amicably towards reaching a financial settlement,’ he said.
Brendan suffered a brain injury in the crash. His black Lamborghini is shown, left. Munoz’s sedan was totaled
Police had been called to the scene after the Lamborghini driver collided with Munoz who was driving a silver Lexus
Munoz’s stepfather Isaac Cordona spoke in an interview with DailyMail.com last week. Cordona is pictured with Munoz and her mother Caroline
People protested near the area where Munoz was killed, demanding justice for the 32-year-old. They wanted to know why the privileged teenager was not charged sooner
On September 23 James posted on Facebook a picture of himself with his arm around his son and the grey, $517,000 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ in the background next to a black Lamborghini SUV.
‘My son and I hanging out cruising in the Hills. Everyone knows who’s [sic] car is faster,’ he wrote.
Brendan has posted pictures of himself on Facebook wearing sunglasses and holding up rare Pokémon cards which his father distributes as part of his business
The next month he posted on Instagram another picture of the two of them posing in front of a gold SVJ and the same black SUV, with the caption: ‘Lambo Urus vs SVJ!! Father Vs Son!!! I have to win. But if I lose, I still have my son.’
On September 25 he posted on Facebook appearing to reference racing motorbikes.
‘If anyone thought that bikes are faster than this Lambo ,YOU ARE WRONG!! I took them all. And I only had 1 drink. I like this car,’ he wrote, with a picture of two men on motorbikes.
Detective Dickson said there was ‘no evidence’ that the father was involved in the February 17 crash, but added that his department had ‘immediately’ sent requests to Instagram and Facebook to preserve the posts as evidence.
‘We are interested in those posts,’ Dickson said. ‘However, he [James] deleted most of his social media accounts before we were able to recover anything. That doesn’t mean we can’t get those posts. We certainly can, they’re just not readily available.
‘We do a preservation letter and search warrant for Instagram and Facebook and they preserve those items in an archive until we get the search warrant to them.
‘The preservation letter was sent immediately. I don’t know what status we are on the search warrant.’
Close family friend Candace Greene told DailyMail.com last week that Brendan was in the hospital after suffering a brain injury in the accident.
‘The kid is beyond remorseful, he cries every day,’ she said.
‘He’s been in the hospital since the day of the accident with a brain injury so he did not walk away from this with cuts and scrapes.
‘He is petrified. He has been somewhat under the care of the police. They have been at the hospital, they know what’s going on,’ she added.
Brendan is pictured with his mother Christine. A friend of his father, James: ‘He bought this car for his boy. It was a birthday gift. His mother and her new husband were adamantly, ”no, no, no”. Her new husband said, ”this is an accident waiting to happen”’
An LAPD detective said they are also investigating James Khuri’s social media posts where the teen’s merchandise mogul father appears to post about his luxury sports cars
‘Bed side view of these beauties!!!’ James said in an Instagram post from November showing his three sports cars
‘It’s going to be for the DA, the courts and the judge to decide… He has been booked. He is not incarcerated because he is in a hospital bed with his mother by his side.
‘The whole family is utterly devastated by what happened.’
Greene said Brendan was given the vehicle for his 17th birthday in June by his father, despite opposition from the boy’s mother Christine, 53, who divorced James in 2008.
The 46-year-old businessman is an industry star who split from his son’s mother in 2008
James, who is described as a ‘serial entrepreneur’ in a glowing 2020 Forbes profile, is the boss of distribution company FJ Holdings which counts tech giant Amazon among its clients.
He has made many of his millions from manufacturing and distributing trading cards including Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering.
James’ company is projected to turn over $200 million in 2021 and he enjoys the trappings of success: he lives in an $8 million Beverly Hills mansion, has shared photographs of himself on private jets, and is known for his love of Lamborghinis.
In his latest story posted last weekend on his now-open Instagram page, James shared a video of four women dancing in his living room to thumping club music, with the caption ‘Lots of energy!! Best dancers!!!’.
In the past few months he has also shared several pictures of his son. With one photo from November he wrote ‘My son Brendan James Khuri. I love him more than anything that exists in this world.’
Another November picture taken from a front upstairs window of his Beverly Hills mansion shows three Lamborghinis and another sports car in his driveway, with the caption ‘Bed side view of these beauties!!!! #lamborghini #beverlyhills.’
Detective Dickson said police were awaiting DMV records for Brandon and had not yet been able to confirm whether he had a provisional drivers license.
Under California law, drivers in possession of an instruction permit cannot drive a vehicle alone and must be accompanied by an adult aged over 25 at all times.
California teenagers are allowed to apply for an instruction permit aged 16 but are not allowed to drive alone until they have passed their test or turn 17.
Brendan had turned 17 but it is not known whether he had passed his test. Minors are also prohibited from driving between 11pm and 5am until they turn 18.
Greene said Khuri gave his son the Lamborghini for his 17th birthday.
The father and son are pictured together. James has since deleted all social media posts
Under a picture of a Lamborghini race car on an LA street posted in December, the father wrote ‘Fun Friday afternoon racing another Lamborghini SVJ on Sunset. Of course going speed limit’
‘He took the picture down from Facebook but he posted a picture of [the Lamborghini SUV] with a red ribbon on it in June 2020,’ she said.
‘He bought this car for his boy. It was a birthday gift. His mother and her new husband were adamantly, ‘no, no, no’. Her new husband said, ‘this is an accident waiting to happen’.
‘Now this has happened. It’s devastating for his mother and another family has lost their child.’
Munoz’s stepfather, Isaac Cordona, 55, of Hawthorne, California, spoke of his heartbreak in an interview with DailyMail.com last week.
His wife, Monique’s mother Carol, 54, was too upset to speak to DailyMail.com but told of her heartbreak in a Facebook post on February 18.
She wrote: ‘My baby my life my everything my heart is broken in so many pieces mommy is going to miss you sooo much.
‘I LOVE YOU FOREVER BABY FEELS LIKE A BAD DREAM RIP MY BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS.’
Following the crash, dozens of protesters gathered at the site of the crash chanting and holding up signs saying ‘Justice for Monique’.
Khuri is known for being tough in business, boasting in his Forbes interview in December 2020 that he doesn’t believe in showing weakness.
He added: ‘One of the keys to my success is that I don’t borrow from banks to support my businesses.
‘I believe that lending is how banks control businesses and, as my father once sagely shared with me, ‘Never show weakness. Control everything.’ That’s why I’ve self-financed five of my companies.’
The mogul’s son has posted pictures of himself on Facebook wearing sunglasses and holding up rare Pokémon cards which his father distributes as part of his business.
A copy of Beverly Hills Weekly shows that the teenager graduated from El Rodeo school in Beverly Hills in 2018.
A website for a Torrance Go Kart track shows lap times for James and Brendan racing against each other in 2016.
Dickson said that street racing had become a problem in LA since the coronavirus lockdown began last year.
‘It’s been particularly egregious during covid, especially at the beginning when people were locked down and staying home,’ he said.
‘People had open roads, particularly surface streets, that they were basically able to do whatever speed they wanted on due to the lack of traffic. So we have seen an increase in reckless driving.
‘I can’t say specifically we’ve seen an increase in fatalities because we’re about on par, but we’ve seen more fatalities from people driving at high rates of speed and a few street racing incidents… But by definition we should be lower because there were less people on the roads in the first probably six months of the lockdown.’