Trucker pleads not guilty in runaway truck deaths

AP News
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Posted: Apr 05, 2011 11:29 AM
Trucker pleads not guilty in runaway truck deaths

A California trucker whose runaway big-rig slammed into a Santa Barbara house and killed three people has pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter.

The California Highway Patrol says 61-year-old Joaquin Garcia, of Oxnard, was behind the wheel of a truck that failed to stop for a red light at State Route 154 and State Street on Aug. 24. Garcia says he had brake problems while traveling down the San Marcos Pass.

The rig was hauling two gravel trailers and roared through a parking lot and hit a house, killing 22-year-old Leon Leonel, 26-year-old Lorena Tellez Pacheco and 8-year-old Jaciel Tellez.

The Santa Barbara News-Press reports Garcia pleaded not guilty on Monday and the judge ordered a May 4 hearing. Garcia is free on $20,000 bail.

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Information from: Santa Barbara News-Press, http://www.newspress.com