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Costa gets 7 years in prison

Truck driver who killed two in 2009 crash has already served about half his sentence

September 08, 2011|By Daniel Siegal and Jason Wells daniel.siegal@latimes.com, jason.wells@latimes.com

Marcos Costa — the big-rig driver convicted of manslaughter and reckless driving charges in the 2009 crash at the foot of Angeles Crest Highway that killed two people — was sentenced Thursday to seven years and four months in prison.

Costa will get credit for time served, or roughly half the length of the sentence.

Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolina Lugo said outside the courtroom that Costa could end up serving less than three years.

The Brazil native was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter, gross vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving for the April 2009 crash in which his big rig, having lost its brakes during the steep Crest descent, slammed into a car containing Palmdale resident Angel Posca, 58, and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina, killing both.

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In court, Lugo said Costa's lack of concern for the victims prompted her to ask for the maximum sentence.

“When I look at this trial, I see a selfish coward who is only concerned about what will happen to himself,” Lugo said.

Costa hung his head low as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darrell Mavis handed down the sentence in the Pasadena courtroom.

“The reason the court is to deny probation is the nature and seriousness and circumstances of this crime specifically,” Mavis said.

Costa was also ordered to pay $87,204 to a victim's compensation fun, and $23,762 to the city of La Cañada Flintridge.

Costa stood and faced the family and friends of the victims in the courtroom and offered a direct apology and appeal for forgiveness.

“I know that each of you hate me today, but what I ask of you is forgiveness,” Costa said through a Portuguese translator. “I promise I will never touch a truck again in my life.”

After the hearing, friends and family of the victims said they were satisfied with the sentence.

“It was fair. We’re OK with it,” said Allie Posca, the eldest daughter of Angel Posca.

Family friend Kristen Eddy, who gave a statement to the court earlier about the impact of the crash on her life, agreed.

“Nothing’s going to bring them back,” she said. “We can live with it.”

Prosecutors had argued that Costa acted with willful disregard for human life as he proceeded down the steep mountainous pass, and ignored warnings from an off-duty firefighter who said smoke was “billowing” from his brakes, according to the county district attorney’s office.

When the out-of-control truck reached Foothill Boulevard, it slammed into Posca’s car, dragging it 150 feet before hitting six other vehicles and crashing into a bookstore.

Defense attorneys had portrayed the crash as an accident that Costa tried to avoid. Costa has also blamed unsafe road conditions and infrastructure for contributing to the crash.

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