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Dump Truck Driver and Trucking Company Face Vehicular Manslaughter Charges

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A judge ruled this week that the driver of a runaway dump truck and the company that employed him must both stand vehicular manslaughter charges in connection with a horrible traffic accident in Rancho Cucamonga that killed one person and injured several others, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported.

The judge categorically stated during the hearing, the newspaper reports, that both Adam Ahlberg, the driver, and the company, Clark Grading, knew that the truck had defective brakes before it hit the road on June 16, 2006. The heavy truck careened out of control on Archibald Avenue because the brakes failed and struck pretty much everything in its way. It reportedly came to a stop only after running a red light at Arrow Highway and colliding with an Omnitrans bus and another Rancho Cucamonga public works truck.

Officials described the death and destruction caused by this runaway dump truck as something similar to a bomb explosion. The driver of the city truck, Angel Calzada, a 20-year veteran of the public works department, was killed in the accident. Investigators discovered that not only did Ahlberg know that the brakes on the truck were problematic but the problems were so bad that the California Highway Patrol once ordered the truck off the road after issuing a citation for faulty brakes. Of course, Ahlberg’s employers knew about it because he repeatedly noted the problems on his log as he is supposed to.

This is one of the most appalling cases of gross negligence. Here is a driver who knew as he pulled away from the lot that the brakes weren’t working properly as did his management. Yet, they chose to put their employee and many others on the road in harm’s way. Not only should they face criminal charges, but they must be held financially responsible for their negligence and callous disregard for public safety.

This case should serve as a lesson to other trucking companies in California and around the nation that don’t operate too differently. As personal injury attorneys who represent victims of truck accidents, we often find that these big rigs are not properly maintained, that drivers are not maintaining their logs properly or honestly and employers don’t take the time to do background checks on their employees including screening them for alcohol and/or drugs.

We hope both this driver and the trucking company are prosecuted and given the judgment they deserve. We also wish the victims and their families the very best and certainly hope they get the compensation they rightfully deserve for being exposed to the pain, grief and suffering caused by this unnecessary accident.

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  • Raymond Elias

    You ought to see how the owner of the company shows up to court. Blue jeans and pendleton, acting as if he could care less. He even showed up one day in shorts. Complete disregard. His lawyer keeps postponing but they will have thier day in court. I second your statement of I hope they get what they deserve.

  • Melissa

    Actually, this is my cousin, and I can promise you he isn’t a criminal and doesn’t do any narcotics. He needs to be accountable for making the call to drive it. But shame on the company for endangering his life as well as others on the road. It’s horrible about the life that was innocently claimed. But companies need to follow all compliance when lives are involved. Find the root of the problem. Don’t ASSume anything.

  • Ginnie

    Melissa, cousin of the driver, i understand what you are saying. but do you understand the law, his duty as a truck driver, he knew the brakes where not working and by law he should of not gotten into the truck.

  • Magnus

    “Ahlberg’s employers knew about it because he repeatedly noted the problems on his log as he is supposed to.”

  • facts

    what Adam knew was previously wrong with the truck that air was releasing from the air valve that only affects the trailer. The trailer was detached that day. He had been driving three hours that day with no problem when the brakes stoped working. The vehicle past pre trip evaluation. The company had repaired these previous problem to his knowledge. He is just that a driver not a mechanic.To post comments and only hear one side of the story is unresponsible!

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