Local News in Brief : Santa Ana : Truck Driver Pleads Not Guilty in I-5 Deaths
A 55-year-old Fresno truck driver charged with felony vehicular manslaughter in the deaths of three people on the Santa Ana Freeway in April pleaded not guilty Friday.
An Oct. 7 preliminary hearing was set for Jackie Wayne Dillard, who appeared in Central Municipal Court in Santa Ana on his own recognizance. Dillard’s driver’s license has been suspended, and he was driven to court by his wife.
Dillard’s attorney, Randolph K. Driggs, said he will attempt at the preliminary hearing to have the three felony vehicular manslaughter counts reduced to misdemeanors.
Dillard has not worked since the accident because he has no driver’s license, Driggs said.
Dillard was driving a semitrailer refrigerator truck on the southbound freeway April 23 when he approached slow traffic near the Garden Grove Freeway. According to the California Highway Patrol, his truck struck a car ahead of him, then veered into the northbound lanes, careening off several vehicles.
Killed were Bartolo Lozano, 66, of Fremont, his brother Antonio, 69, of Tijuana, and Antonio Lozano’s wife, Maria, 59. Ten others were injured in the incident.
Dillard had been cited by the CHP in Madera eight months before for driving at an unsafe speed. His truck had hit another vehicle from behind in that incident.