Marcos Barbosa Costa, a truck driver involved in a deadly runaway truck accident in La Canada, CA, was sentenced to 7 years and 4 months in prison as a result of his conviction on involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving.
Costa had originally been charged with second-degree murder, but was acquitted of that charge.
Costa, 46, a Massachusetts resident and native of Brazil, was hauling cars on a particularly dangerous stretch of mountain road along the Angeles Crest Highway, when his brakes failed on his double-decker truck, causing him to run a red light and slam into a car driven by Angel Posca, 58. Posca and his daughter Angela were killed. The Posca vehicle was dragged 150 ft. and the truck struck six more vehicles before crashing into a bookstore and nail salon.
Prosecutors charged that Costa had ignored posted weight warnings and “no truck” signs on the highway, however, Costa’s defense argued that the trucker was misdirected to the route via his truck GPS and once on the highway, couldn’t turn around.
An off-duty firefighter testified in the trial that he had pulled Costa over and alerted him that smoke was billowing from the truck’s brakes. The fireman said he warned Costa that the highway would get steeper if he proceeded down and that Costa ignored his warnings.
La Canada Flintridge officials accused the California Dept. of Transportation of failing to respond to safety concerns about trucks on the road and previous accidents at that intersection. Following the accident, Caltrans instituted a 90-day ban on five-axle trucks on the highway. The ban was later made permanent.
Costa filed a civil lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the state of California last March, blaming them for improperly maintaining Angeles Crest Highway.