Runaway big rig driver gets prison in deadly crash

By THOMAS WATKINS | September 8, 2011 | 2:15 PM EDT

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A judge has tentatively sentenced a trucker to seven years and four months in prison for a deadly Southern California crash involving a runaway big rig.

Marcos Costa received the tentative sentence Thursday. However, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darrell Mavis said he wanted to hear statements from victims before making his final ruling.

Costa was driving a 25-ton, double-decker car hauler through the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles when his brakes failed in April 2009. The truck smashed through traffic in the foothill town of La Canada Flintridge, killing a man and his 12-year-old daughter and plowing into some shops.

Prosecutors say Costa ignored warnings that the steep, winding Angeles Crest Highway was no place for his car and that he kept going despite smoking brakes.