Representing himself, preacher turned trucker sues CA

| Friday, April 29, 2011

A preacher turned truck driver is suing California over a highway’s design, not long after being released from jail for his traffic wreck prosecution.

Marcos Costa, 45, posted a $340,000 bond in March after being in jail for almost two years after being charged in connection with the April 1, 2009, wreck that resulted in two people dying. The wreck happened after Costa’s brakes failed while he headed down the Angeles Crest Highway, resulting in the truck crashing into two businesses and seven vehicles at more than 50 mph.

He was charged in 2009 with two counts of murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter and three counts of reckless driving related to the wreck.

In March, Costa also filed a civil lawsuit in which he sued Caltrans, the city of La Canada Flintridge and Los Angeles County over improper maintenance of the Angeles Crest Highway. Costa reportedly cited seven other wrecks near the same intersection.

KTLA News reported that Costa told police he took the route “because his GPS told him that was the shortest route to the Los Angeles basin.”

A September 2008 wreck occurred on the same highway when a truck slammed into a restaurant after losing brakes. No one was hurt in that wreck.

The murder charges were dropped after a judge tossed them last fall. Subsequent appeals by the prosecution, however, resulted in the charges moving forward.

Costa’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin June 20, court records show.

One online report said Costa is living in a “home for pastors” tied to an Orange County church as he awaits the trial.

“When the accident happened, he told me he wished he’d been the one to pass away,’’ Pastor Paulo Rosa said, according to lacanadaflintridge.patch.com.

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