[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
46°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
March 26
1821 - SCV (with the rest of Alta Calif.) becomes territory of Mexico during war for Mexican independence from Spain [story]


The trucker accused of killing two women and four young children when his big rig hit a minivan two years ago showed no signs of weaving lanes, swerving or driving in a “serpentine manner” on the freeway before the crash, an investigator said in court Thursday.

He wasn’t driving erratically, talking on a cellphone or playing with the radio, according to answers given by the specially trained California Highway Patrol investigator under cross examination at the vehicular manslaughter trial of Richard Lopez in San Fernando Superior Court.

“He wasn’t doing anything to make him inattentive,” CHP investigator Joseph Machado testified after agreeing to a checklist of safe driving indicators suggested by the defense lawyer.

Lopez is charged with six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter for allegedly having run into the back of a minivan with his Freightliner truck at 3:37 a.m. on June 28, 2016, in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, just south of Gorman School Road.

The two women who died inside the burning minivan were Connie Wu Li and Flora Kuang, both 33. The children killed in the same vehicle were Jayden Li, 5; Lucas Li, 3; Sky Ng, 4; and Venus Ng, 2.

“Did you ever notice him speeding?” defense attorney Ben Mironer asked Thursday.

Machado said no.

“Did he maintain a safe speed throughout the (dash cam) video?”

Machado said yes.

Lopez is charged with six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter for allegedly having run into the back of a minivan with his Freightliner truck at 3:37 a.m. on June 28, 2016, in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, just south of Gorman School Road.

The two women who died inside the burning minivan were Connie Wu Li and Flora Kuang, both 33. The children killed in the same vehicle were Jayden Li, 5; Lucas Li, 3; Sky Ng, 4; and Venus Ng, 2.

“Did you ever notice him speeding?” defense attorney Ben Mironer asked Thursday.

Machado said no.

“Did he maintain a safe speed throughout the (dash cam) video?”

Machado said yes.

“Did he maintain a safe speed throughout the (dash cam) video?”

Machado said yes.

“Did he have his seat belt on?”

Machado answered in the affirmative.

“Did you ever see him distracted?”

Machado said no.

“He was never on the phone. He never switched radio stations,” Mironer said, to which Machado agreed.

“He was driving pretty straight,” the CHP investigator said. “Aside from the one time he went over the rumble strip.”

“He never seemed to doze. One time, his eyes closed,” he added, referring to 30 minutes of dash cam recording of Lopez’s driving, which was played for the jury Wednesday.

Mironer asked him: “But he didn’t fall asleep, right?”

“Aside from his chin dropping there wasn’t dozing,” Machado said.

“There was a lot of evidence of safe driving seen throughout the entire video, right?”

“Right,” Machado said.

Machado, an investigator with the CHP’s specialized accident reconstruction team, known as the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, testified earlier that he watched the video of Lopez driving more than 100 times.

The court learned Friday that there were two traffic collisions: an initial crash involving a BMW that rear-ended the minivan, a 2016 Toyota Sienna, and a second crash, in which Lopez is accused of rear-ending the same minivan with the big rig he was driving.

Mironer began his cross-examination Thursday by asking Machado about damage to the minivan caused by the BMW.

“Is it reasonable to conclude that the first collision (with the BMW) is what caused the filler neck to separate on the minivan?” Mironer asked.

The filler neck is a tube that connects the fuel filler inlet on a vehicle to the rubber hose attached to its gas tank.

Deputy District Attorney Jamie Castro objected to the line of questioning, prompting Judge Sherilyn Garnett to talk to both lawyers outside the courtroom, away from the jury for about 10 minutes.

When they returned to court, Garnett allowed the question.

“Based on your reconstruction investigation, is it reasonably possible the BMW caused the filler neck damage?” Mironer said.

Machado said: “Thinking about the difference in speeds, about 20 to 30 miles per hour, it’s the same as a stopped car being hit. I don’t think it’s consistent.”

It was Mironer’s assertion that a damaged filler neck could have caused the vehicle fire.

“The source of the fire I left up to the arson investigators,” Machado told the court.

The trial, finishing its third week, is scheduled to continue Friday afternoon and continue into next week.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Mar 25, 2019
Motorcyclist Hurt in Crash, Narrowly Misses Big-Rig Collision
A motorcyclist hurt and taken to the hospital Monday morning narrowly missed being run over by a big rig, one of the rescuing paramedics said.
Monday, Mar 25, 2019
Smith Introduces 14 Bills for Current Sacramento Session
California 38th District Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) authored and submitted 14 bills prior to the Feb. 22 legislative submission deadline, tackling issues like education, human trafficking, and public safety.
Monday, Mar 25, 2019
SCV Water Wins 2 Prestigious Awards for Inaugural Budget
SCV Water’s FY 2018/19 Budget has been recognized, locally by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, and nationally by the Government Finance Officers Association, for meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1821 - SCV (with the rest of Alta Calif.) becomes territory of Mexico during war for Mexican independence from Spain [story]
The internationally acclaimed exhibition "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983" made its West Coast debut at The Broad in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
Chouinard Alums Featured in ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983’
Earlier this month, Library Journal named CalArts Reference & Instruction Librarian Marisa Méndez-Brady a 2019 "Mover & Shaker, "the trade publication’s annual award for “people shaping the future of libraries.”
CalArts Librarian Named 2019 ‘Mover & Shaker’ by Library Journal
The Mustangs beat San Diego Christian 4-1 and 3-2 in Lakeside on Saturday to complete a four-game sweep of the Hawks and move into a share of first place in GSAC standings.
Brooks Earns 700th Win in Mustang Sweep of San Diego
In light of how far the group has already come, TMU track and field coach Zach Schroeder is confident his 4x800-meter relay can go a little faster.
TMU Track & Field Shines at Westmont Collegiate Classic
The Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission will hold a special meeting on Thursday, March 28, starting at 8:30 a.m.
March 28: Parks, Recreation, Community Services Special Meeting
The Santa Clarita Community College District's Board of Trustees will hold a joint business meeting with representatives of the Associated Student Government at College of the Canyons' Valencia Campus on Wednesday, March 27.
March 27: COC Board of Trustees, ASG Joint Business Meeting
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next regular and special meetings on Tuesday, March 26.
March 26: City Council Legislative, Special, Regular Meetings
On Friday in Lakeside, right-handed hitting senior Anthony Lepre's entire repertoire was on display in a doubleheader against San Diego Christian.
Lepre’s Big Day Powers Mustangs to Wins Over Hawks
A motorcyclist hurt and taken to the hospital Monday morning narrowly missed being run over by a big rig, one of the rescuing paramedics said.
Motorcyclist Hurt in Crash, Narrowly Misses Big-Rig Collision
California 38th District Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) authored and submitted 14 bills prior to the Feb. 22 legislative submission deadline, tackling issues like education, human trafficking, and public safety.
Smith Introduces 14 Bills for Current Sacramento Session
This year’s annual Castaic Dam Run at Castaic Lake on Saturday, April 13 will offer more fun for families as the event will also include the community’s first-ever Gnome Festival, featuring a Kids’ Gnome Parade.
April 13: Annual Castaic Dam Run, First Gnome Festival, Kids’ Parade
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Captain Timothy K. Murakami has been promoted to Undersheriff, according to a news release from the LASD's Information Bureau.
Murakami Promoted to LASD Undersheriff
After weeks of informational picketing and mediation, College of the Canyons and its full-time faculty members have reached a tentative agreement that would end an ongoing dispute between the two sides.
COC, Full-Time Faculty Reach Tentative Agreement
SCV Water’s FY 2018/19 Budget has been recognized, locally by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, and nationally by the Government Finance Officers Association, for meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.
SCV Water Wins 2 Prestigious Awards for Inaugural Budget
Predicting that the public will not see the full report on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, Senator Lindsey Graham noted Monday that material covered by executive privilege will likely be kept under wraps.
Graham Expects Some of Mueller Report to Stay Secret
A pedestrian is in stable condition after a man accused of drunken driving drove over a man’s leg on the 23000 block of Drayton Street in Santa Clarita on Sunday.
Deputies Hold Suspect After Man’s Leg is Run Over Outside Homeless Shelter
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Court Services Division Chief Robin Limon has been promoted to Assistant Sheriff for LASD, according to the Sheriff's Information Bureau.
LASD Promotes Robin Limon to Assistant Sheriff
1889 - Castaic School District established [story]
Castaic siding
Shutters clicked and lightbulbs flashed as the nominees for 2019 SCV Man and Woman of the Year were announced Wednesday at the annual "Paparazzi Party."
Nominees for SCV Man, Woman of Year Unveiled
1922 - Wyatt Earp's wife thanks William S. Hart for defending her husband's honor [story]
Wyatt Earp story
The California Highway Patrol closed all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 at Gorman School Road and southbound lanes at Frazier Mountain Park Saturday afternoon to clean up after multi-vehicle crashes in two locations.
Lanes Reopened After Multiple-Vehicle Crashes Close I-5 in Grapevine
1886 - Film director Robert N. Bradbury born in Washington state; launched John Wayne's career in Placerita Canyon [watch]
Governor Gavin Newsom Friday proclaimed a state of emergency throughout California ahead of the coming fire season, directing his administration to immediately expedite forest management projects that will protect 200 of California’s most wildfire-vulnerable communities.
Newsom Proclaims State of Emergency on Wildfires
For the second time in as many years here, a Mustang barreled to the rim in the closing seconds and scored a game-tying basket, only for the opposition to land a jarring counterpunch. This time no overtime was necessary.
Men’s Hoops: TMU Falls on Buzzer-Beater in NAIA First Round
As Master's concluded the Battle at Primm in Nipton, California, on Tuesday, the tournament's bright spot remained Karsten Briley's ridiculously low second round a day earlier.
TMU Men’s Golfers Prep for Fast Turnaround After Primm
College of the Canyons placed golfers in the top three individual spots on the way to winning its fourth straight conference tournament with a five-man score of 367 at Antelope Valley Country Club on Monday.
Wakaari Medals Again, Cougs Win Fourth Straight
College of the Canyons' men's swim team won a relay event and combined for eight top-five finishes to lead the Cougars to a third-place team result during the Western State Conference meet held at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center on Saturday, March 16.
Cougars Swim to Third at Home WSC Meet
College of the Canyons won a combined nine events and finished runner-up in six more during a strong showing at the non-conference Bakersfield College Relays on Saturday, March 16.
Cougars Track & Field Roars at BC Relays
The city of Santa Clarita will host a public ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of the Sierra Highway Pedestrian Bridge and Street Improvement Project on Friday, March 29, at 10 a.m.
March 29: City to Dedicate New Sierra Highway Pedestrian Bridge
Nearly two years in the making, Special Counsel Robert Mueller confidentially submitted his report Friday on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, but it remains unclear as to when, or whether, Attorney General William Barr will make the report public.
Mueller Submits Long-Awaited Report on Russian Meddling in US Election
The Civilian Oversight Commission for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will host its monthly commission meeting in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
March 26: Oversight Panel to Focus on LASD Secret Subgroups, ICE Policy, Sheriff’s Actions
The students in California State University, Northridge Finance 491A and 491B: Student Portfolio Seminar are outperforming finance professionals and turning nearly $5 million of investments into scholarships, research and other opportunities for the university.
Students Beat the Markets in Managing CSUN’s Portfolio
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will take part in a bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operation in the city of Santa Clarita on Monday, March 25, between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.
March 25: LASD Bicycle, Pedestrian Safety Operation in Santa Clarita
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, March 26, starting at 1 p.m.
March 26: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
California consumers are applying for clean-vehicle rebates at a record pace as demand for the cleanest vehicles on the market skyrocketed over the past year.
Sales of Electric Cars Breaking Records in California