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2 Charged in Bus Crash, Waste Spill

June 16, 1988

Misdemeanor charges were filed Wednesday against two men and their companies involved in a Newhall traffic accident in which hazardous waste was spilled from a tractor-trailer truck on a school bus carrying 25 children.

Chris Richau, 61, of Glendora, and his company, San Bon Constructors, were charged with operating an overweight vehicle with defective brakes that was carrying an unsafe load, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Anthony G. Patchett. Richau's company owns the truck, Patchett said.

Roy Axford, 60, of Rolling Hills, and his Compton-based company, Morrell's Electroplating, were charged with illegal transportation of hazardous waste, having no permit to move hazardous waste and using a vehicle not certified to move such waste. Axford's company owned the tank that was being transported, Patchett said.

Richau and his company and are to be arraigned July 7. Axford and his company are to be arraigned July 21.

Patchett said the truck moving the 65-foot tank, which contained copper and zinc waste, was northbound on Sierra Highway Jan. 28 when the accident occurred.

As the truck approached Placerita Canyon Road, the driver, unable to stop for a signal, made a "hard right to avoid hitting the bus," Patchett said. The tank slammed into the side of the bus, spilling its contents onto some Newhall Elementary School children inside the bus, Patchett said.

Thirteen children were treated at a hospital for minor skin irritations. The driver of the truck was not cited in the crash.

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