A Hemet firefighter has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the 2005 engine accident that killed a fellow firefighter.
Michael Lawrence Arizaga, 47, was charged in the death of Christopher Kanton, 23, of Temecula, who was killed last August while responding to a call near Banning, Riverside County officials said Thursday.
Arizaga, who works for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection-Riverside County, was driving the fire engine at about 45 mph through a rainstorm on Interstate 10 when it spun off the road and hit several trees before rolling down a 44-foot embankment.
Kanton, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle, California Highway Patrol officers said.
CHP investigators found that Arizaga was at fault in the accident because he failed to switch off a special engine brake that must be deactivated in rain or snow -- "an unlawful act, but, without gross negligence," said court documents released Thursday.