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

June 19, 2009 |  2:08 pm

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