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California Appeals Panel Restores Murder Charges Against Trucker

A California appeals court Tuesday reinstated murder charges against a truck driver whose rig hit and killed a man and his 12-year-old daughter not far from Los Angeles.

Marcos Barboza Costa of Everett, Mass., was transporting cars over the Saint Gabriel Mountains April 1, 2009, when his brakes failed. He was driving on the Angeles Crest Highway.

His double-decker truck hit a car carrying Angel Posca of Palmdale, Calif., and his daughter Angelina, killing them both. The rig also struck four other cars, and then crashed into a bookstore and nail salon.

This week a three-judge panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles found that Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench made a mistake when she dismissed a second-degree murder charge against Posca in October. The appeals court said there was some evidence that supported keeping the charges.

“We conclude there is some rational ground for assuming the possibility that Costa was aware of the risk to human life posed by continuing to drive his large semi-trailer down the highway, and that he consciously and deliberately disregarded that risk,” the appeals court said.

The prosecution alleges that Costa disregarded a sign that said trucks the size and weight of his rig were banned from the part of the highway he was traveling on.  

An inspection purportedly found that five of Costa’s 10 brakes weren’t working or weren’t properly adjusted, which should have warranted the truck being pulled from service.

Now Costa still has two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and three counts of reckless driving pending against him.    

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