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Driver charged with murder says state is at fault

Man acting as his own attorney in fatal Angeles Crest crash claims officials are trying to deflect liability.

November 24, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com
(Michael J. Arvizu/Valley…)

The man facing murder charges for the April 2009 Angeles Crest Highway runaway truck crash that killed two people claims he is being singled out for prosecution by public agencies hoping to limit their potential civil liability for the crash.

Marcos Costa, 45, faces life in prison and has remained behind bars in lieu of $600,000 bail since June 2009, when a grand jury indicted him on two counts of murder and other charges following the April 1, 2009, crash where the steep mountain pass ends at Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge.

Angel Posca and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina, were killed in the collision. Several others were injured.

Costa's court-appointed private investigator on Friday provided a draft copy of a motion to dismiss the murder and manslaughter charges, alleging the truck driver "was singled out for the crime of murder and/or voluntary manslaughter to excuse State of California and it's [sic] Department of Transportation from millions of dollars in civil suits filed against them."

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The draft motion also alleges Costa, a native of Brazil who speaks limited English and relies on a Portuguese translator during court proceedings, "has been singled out because he is Hispanic and is not a citizen of California and the United States of America."

Yanette Posca, whose husband and daughter were killed in the April 1 crash, and other surviving family members have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against California, the state Department of Transportation, Los Angeles County and the city of La Cañada Flintridge, as well as Costa, the trucking company that employed him and global satellite positioning system device makers Garmin International.

Posca, who has previously referred questions about the lawsuit to Orange County attorney Christopher Aiken, could not be reached. Aiken did not return calls requesting comment.

Costa on Friday appeared at a pretrial hearing in a Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom in Pasadena to begin the lengthy process of transferring case documents to the Men's Central Jail and to Edward Murphy, a stand-by attorney appointed by Judge Lisa Lench to take over the defense at trial if Costa changes his mind about defending himself.

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