Truck driver arrested in L.A. crash that killed 2

/ Source: The Associated Press

The driver of a runaway truck that plowed through an intersection, killing two people and injuring 12 others, had taken a mountain route a short time earlier where big rigs are banned, authorities said Thursday.

Marcos Costa was arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony reckless driving.

Costa, 43, was treated for minor injuries and remained jailed Thursday on $200,000 bail. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies did not know if he had hired an attorney.

The car transporter truck Costa was driving went out of control as he attempted a sharp turn at a busy intersection during Wednesday afternoon rush hour, smashing into cars and then into a bookstore.

Los Angeles County coroner Lt. Joe Bale identified the dead as Angel Jorge Posca, 58, of Palmdale, and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina Posca. Their car was pushed through the intersection by the truck and crushed. Twelve other people were injured, including three in critical condition.

'I felt nauseous'
Brandi Sjostrom, 19, a waitress at the Hill Street Cafe, heard brakes squeal and her manager yelling for customers to get out of the way just before the truck smashed into a building a couple doors down.

"I felt nauseous," she said of seeing the wreckage. "I was in shock and couldn't believe what happened."

Vehicles were strewn about on the intersection about 10 miles north of Los Angeles. One SUV was on its side and sheets covered a small red car that was crushed.

The truck had come over the San Gabriel Mountains on Angeles Forest Highway, where trucks are banned, Sheriff's Sgt. John Caffrey said Thursday. The narrow, steep, winding road is used as a shortcut by commuters from high desert cities north of Los Angeles.

Caffrey said he did not know specifically whether Costa was arrested because he drove that stretch of road or for some other reason. However, reckless driving can include "wanton disregard for public safety," the sergeant said.

The Angeles Forest road eventually joins the wider Angeles Crest Highway, which descends steeply through La Canada Flintridge. That was where the accident happened.

Mayor outraged
The California Department of Transportation had ignored the city's request to also ban trucks on Angeles Crest, City Manager Mark Alexander said. Another truck had destroyed seven vehicles and injuring one person last September at the same intersection.

Mayor Laura Olhasso said "we are outraged that our numerous demands to CalTrans ... were ignored."

CalTrans planned a news conference later Thursday to address the issue.

City officials also wanted post signs in the area to warn trucks about the steep grades and install an escape lane uphill from the intersection. But highway and city officials disagreed about where to put the escape lane.