A California trucking
company has been ordered to stand trial on manslaughter charges after a crash
killed one of its drivers. Prosecutors contend the truck's brakes failed because
of poor maintenance.
Superior Court Judge
Bruce A. Clark charged R.P. Cummings trucking company of Westlake Village
with one count of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Patrick Hildebrand,
according to the Los Angeles Times.
Hildebrand was hauling
7,000 gallons of crude oil down a 7-percent grade near Santa Paula in February
2000. His brakes failed about a half-mile from the bottom and his rig flew
off a cliff, killing the driver and spilling thousands of gallons of oil into
the truck's brake linings were worn down to the rivets, and other brake equipment
was out of adjustment, the newspaper reported. Investigators accused Cummings
of not maintaining its trucks and ignoring driver complaints.
Earlier this year, the
company had the case dismissed by a Ventura County judge, but the district
attorney's office won an appeal when Judge Clark found there was sufficient
evidence to prosecute the company.