Big rig driver gets jail time for fatal crash

December 11, 2008 2:18:24 PM PST
A big-rig driver was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court today to jail time and community service for causing a 2007 crash that killed a woman driving with her 12-year-old daughter.

Carlos Velasquez, 51, a Gilroy resident, said in court today he accepts responsibility for the May 22, 2007, crash on U.S. Highway 101 in Redwood City that killed 37-year-old Indira Gagloeva, and said thinks about her family often.

He pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter in September, accepting a plea deal with prosecutors in which he would serve no more than 90 days in county jail.

Judge Mark Forcum today sentenced Velasquez to 45 days in county jail and 200 days of community service, as well as two years' probation.

Velasquez is eligible for the San Mateo County Sheriff's Work Program, which would allow him to keep his job in order to provide for his family.

Forcum said he believes Velasquez is "entirely remorseful" for what happened and said he chose a sentence for Velasquez that represents a fair punishment.

Velasquez was driving a big-rig loaded with cardboard in the southbound slow lane of Highway 101 around 1 p.m. May 22 when he drifted onto the right shoulder.

He overcorrected and the big-rig swerved across all southbound lanes and jackknifed, striking the center divide and bursting into flames.

Concrete chunks from the center divide flew into a northbound lane and struck a Lexus sport utility vehicle.

Gagloeva, who was driving the SUV, was struck by the piece of concrete that came through her windshield. She was airlifted to Stanford Hospital, where she died. Her daughter suffered minor injuries.

Velasquez and a passenger in the truck were uninjured and escaped before the truck caught fire.

Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to California Highway Patrol investigators.


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