A commercial truck driver who allegedly slammed into a disabled van on the 5 Freeway, causing a fiery crash that killed two mothers and four of their children in Gorman more than a year ago, has been charged, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
A burned-out minivan is seen near the southbound side of the 5 Freeway in Gorman on June 28, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)
Richard Lopez, 60, pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter and another misdemeanor count of failing to comply with California Highway Patrol rules about service hours for drivers, according to a DA’s news release.
The crash, which happened on June 28, 2016, killed 33-year-old Connie Wu Li, 33-Flora Kuang, 5-year-old Jayden Li, 3-year-old Lucas Li, 4-year-old Sky Ng and 2-year-old Venus Ng, the release stated.
The victims, from the Bay Area, were in a van that had broken down on the 5 Freeway and partially blocked the right lane near Gorman School Road in the early morning hours.
A heavy-duty tow truck retrieves a van in which six people died after it was struck by a big rig and burst into flames on the 5 Freeway near Gorman on June 28, 2016. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Lopez was driving a tractor trailer when it crashed into the van, prosecutors said. The victims’ vehicle caught fire and went down and embankment, killing six of the occupants.
Two fathers were also in the car, but managed to escape. They had tried to rescue their families, but CHP officers held them back from the fiery wreck, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Lopez — who had allegedly been driving at that point for more than 15 hours — had not rested the legally mandated 10 hours, according to the criminal complaint.
He faces a maximum sentence of six years in jail if convicted on the charges, the DA’s office said.
July 13, 2017: Truck Driver Charged for Crash on I-5 in Gorman Killing Six
Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
A commercial truck driver has been charged with the deaths of two women and four children who died last summer when the truck crashed into their disabled van on Interstate 5, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Richard Lopez (dob 2/21/47) of Walnut faces six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter and one misdemeanor count of failing to comply with California Highway Patrol rules regarding hours of service for drivers.
Lopez pleaded not guilty to the charges today and is scheduled to return for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 4 in Department S of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch. Case 7SC00100 was filed for warrant on June 27.
Connie Wu Li, 33, Flora Kuang, 33, Jayden Li, 5, Lucas Li, 3, Sky Ng, 4, and Venus Ng, 2, were in a van from Daly City that broke down and was partially blocking the right lane near Gorman School Road on June 28, 2016, prosecutors said.
When the tractor trailer Lopez was driving crashed into the van, it erupted in flames and went down an embankment, prosecutors added. According to the criminal complaint, the driver had not rested the legally mandated 10 hours after allegedly driving for more than 15 hours.
If convicted as charged, Lopez faces a possible maximum sentence of six years in jail.
The case remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.