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Driver of runaway truck talks of journey before fatal accident

The  driver of the runaway truck that killed two people in La Cañada Flintridge in April 2009 after its brakes went out on Angeles Crest Highway recounted in court parts of the journey leading up to the fatal crash.

Marcos Costa, 46, said Friday through a Portuguese translator that he did his best to follow a route given by an off-duty firefighter who had flagged the truck down on Angeles Forest Highway and warned the driver that his brakes appeared to be overheating, according to the Glendale News-Press. Due to his poor command of English the driver said he may not have understood all he was told, including the warnings about his brakes as well as the steep terrain he would face.

“I don’t remember him saying anything about the brakes. If he did, I didn’t understand,” Costa said of firefighter Juan Palomino, who testified earlier in the trial. “I did not understand everything he was saying. I understood he said ‘alternate route’ because I heard him talk several times about the tunnel [they were approaching]. I asked him to draw a map.”

In fact, even after Costa originally passed the turnoff specified by Palomino and managed to make a U-turn in a parking lot on Angeles Forest Highway, he chose to proceed along the route toward Angeles Crest Highway marked by Palomino,

-- Daniel Seigel and Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

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