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Murder charges dismissed against driver in fatal big-rig crash

He still faces vehicular manslaughter charges in the deaths of a man and his daughter in April when the runaway truck crashed on Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada Flintridge.

October 10, 2009|Ann M. Simmons

Murder charges were dismissed Friday against a commercial truck driver whose runaway big rig killed a man and his 12-year-old daughter in La Canada Flintridge in April, authorities said.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench dismissed the two counts of murder on which a county grand jury had indicted Marcos Barbosa Costa on June 11, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

She said prosecutors haven't decided whether to appeal the ruling.

Robison said prosecutors had received information from an off-duty firefighter, who was traveling behind Costa before the accident, that he had warned the truck driver that the road was steep, he was traveling too fast and the truck's brakes were smoking.

Prosecutors believe that Costa had received notice that could have helped him avoid crashing, Robison said.

Costa's attorney, Steve Meister, praised the judge's decision. He said an appeal would be "ill-advised" and probably would fail. "I have always believed this was not murder," Meister said.

He said that Costa, a 44-year-old Massachusetts resident, "heard the ruling with relief. He is very mindful that two people lost their lives and many were injured, and he is deeply pained by that."

Costa still faces two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the April 1 deaths of Angel Posca and his daughter, Angelina, Robison said. They were killed when the trucker's out-of-control vehicle barreled into several cars on Angeles Crest Highway.

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ann.simmons@latimes.com

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