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Big-rig driver indicted on two counts of murder in La Canada crash

A commercial truck driver whose runaway big-rig hit several cars in La Canada Flintridge in April, killing a man  and his 12-year-old daughter, has been indicted on two counts of murder, officials in the Los Angeles County  district attorney’s office said today.

A Los Angeles County grand jury returned the indictment against Marcos Barbosa Costa on June 11, but it was unsealed this morning after Costa was arraigned before Judge Patricia Schnegg in Los Angeles Superior Court. Bail was set at $2.09 million.

Costa, 44, had earlier been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter for the April 1 deaths, but was released on $200,000 bail and allowed to return home to Massachusetts, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman in the district attorney’s office.

He was rearrested this morning outside the Pasadena courthouse, where he was scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing. He remains in custody, Robison said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolina Lugo  said investigators had presented additional information to the grand jury. But since the grand jury transcripts remain under seal, prosecutors could not comment further, Robison said.

In addition to the two counts of murder, the indictment adds allegations of great bodily injury to the charges of vehicular manslaughter filed on April 3, Robison said. Costa is also charged with three counts of reckless driving, causing injury to three victims. Two of the victims suffered concussions; the third sustained a bone fracture.

The crash killed Angel Posca and his daughter, Angelina.

The tragedy prompted the California Department of Transportation to impose a 90-day ban on five-axle trucks traveling down the Angeles Crest Highway -- also known as California 2 -- to the 210 Freeway in La Canada Flintridge.

The travel restrictions came amid criticism that Caltrans did not do enough to improve safety on the mountain highway after a big-rig accident last year in the same area.

During the ban, which began at midnight on April 5, transportation officials said they intended to examine various options, including restoring the truck-arrester lane, establishing a truck-break point and possibly making the ban permanent.

Costa has been ordered to return to Pasadena Superior Court on June 24 for a bail review hearing and pretrial conference.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison, with the possibility of parole, Robison said.

-- Ann M. Simmons

 
Comments () | Archives (10)

I would think it would be Cal-Trans that would be charged. It was, after all, their negligence that allowed the tractor-trailors/big rigs on this particular road, and they ignored numerous requests to restrict such vehicles because of the danger.

It would be interesting to know how they came about the murder charges for the driver. I understand he missed seeing a sign, even with a co-driver in the vehicle. But I'm not so convinced there was intent to kill. His brakes failed, that's mechanical. Human error created his mess.

But there must be culpability for Cal Trans. They are the agency responsible for allowing these vehicles on the roads they travel.

Murder? Are you serious? It was a tragic accident for sure, but to charge the man with murder seems a bit odd and harsh. Blame it on Cal Trans if you want to pin a murder charge on someone.

Two murder counts? Doesn't that mean he meant to do it? Something weird here. Where are the murder counts against Cal Trans?

What is this district attorney try to make a name for himself ,The accident was tragic but due to mechanical failure ,the inditment should include the head of CalTrans on permiting trucks to use the highway , Cal Trans knew of the problem a long time ago and clearly is guilty of neglect.

As a long hual truck driver for 22 years I think I can speak with some authority on this matter. As a driver this individual has to take full responsibility for his actions, if he had knowledge of defective equipment then its all on him, what the hell are you doing going that highway when everything is less than 100%. If it was equipment, where is the daily inspection reports that the DOT requires a driver to fill out every day. If he's company driver then its on the company he works for, if he's an owner operator then he's responsible for maintenence.T he other issue is experience. An experienced truck driver would not let himself get into that kind of predicament in the first place. Its very unfortunate to see a fellow trucker go down like this, but the facts are the facts.

The story didn't clarify why the DA upped the charge from vehicular manslaughter to Murder (1 or 2?) - or why he was re-arrested. What happened?

ANN: Can you please update us? We're a bit in the dark here.

Thanks much,

A K

I agree with the earlier posters in regards to Cal Trans. They are equally culpable in this tragedy. Over the years hey had been warned and warned. Public officials had written many letters pleading with Cal Trans to take action to prevent this accident. Cal Trans was an accessory before the fact to these murders.

The prosecutor, if he (or she) is candid, will concede that he can indict anybody, at any time, for almost anything, before a grand jury. In a case like this (we're not talking about a complicated criminal conspiracy, after all) the only reason for the D.A. to go to the Grand Jury is because they know it's a one-way rubber stamp cul-de-sac. They know that no defense attorney will be present to ask unwelcome questions. They know there will be no irksome judge present to assess the credibility of evidence. If they had a strong case for murder then why not amend the complaint and present evidence and witnesses in open court at the preliminary hearing? At this point we're all in the dark but we can still smell it and it stinks.

We are shocked with everything that is happening.We feel bad for the family who lost their loving members. But just because of that we can not judge someone innocent like Marcos Costa. He is a good man,a good husband,a good brother,a good uncle,and a good christian.He is a blessing to our community in Massachusetts.He has helped many people.Please do not let Marcos Costa be judged as a criminal,he is not a criminal.

Marcos Costa is my uncle, and he is a good man, hard worker, a good husband he is a man of God, he always decicate his time to friends and family. I know it's tragidy to the victim's family, I couldn't even imagine loosing family memebers like that. I live in MA and from my point of view the who should take the blame for it is Calif Trans, because I've been reading the news paper and everyones commmets and apparently there were no signs. I know my uncle caused the accident, but life sentence that "surreal", HE IS NOT A MURDER, that's just absurd and that's not justice, that won't bring the victimns back, it only make one more family to suffer. Off course they won't charge a state depart like Calif Trans it's easier for them to charge for murder an immigrant. That's descriminition...


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