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Runaway truck driver could have avoided fatal La Cañada crash, prosecutor says

June 26, 2011 |  1:41 pm


In opening statements, attorneys in the murder trail of a truck driver involved in a horrific accident on Angeles Crest Highway presented starkly different views of events leading up to the April 1, 2009, deaths of two people in La Cañada Flintridge.

In a 19-minute statement on Friday that culminated in showing jurors dramatic video of the fatal crash shot from a bus’ dashboard camera, Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolina Lugo said Marcos Costa, 46, was aware that his truck’s brakes were overheating and was warned of the dangers of continuing along the highway’s steep downgrade but did so anyway.

Taking more than an hour, defense attorney Edward Murphy said testimony would show that the brakes on Costa’s 18-wheel car carrier were operational and that Costa remained in control of the truck until only a short distance above Foothill Boulevard, where the truck collided with several cars before crashing through a storefront, according to 818 Now.

On his final approach into the busy intersection, Costa “can’t pull into the left lane because there’s heavy traffic. He can’t pull into the right lane because there were houses there. The road turns into this straight shoot down to Foothill Boulevard. He looks to the median … there’s no gravel pit to stop runaway trucks,” Murphy said. “He cries out to God, ‘Please help me stop this truck.’ He’s frantic … and that’s when he starts crashing into one car after another.”

Palmdale resident Angel Posca and his 12-year-old daughter Angelina were killed instantly and several other commuters were injured when Costa’s truck plowed through the busy intersection at rush hour.


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--Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

 Photo: A firefighter pauses during rescue work. Credit: Luis Sinco / L.A. Times