Big rigs temporarily banned on Angeles Crest Highway
Caltrans announced Friday that commercial trucks would be banned temporarily on Angeles Crest Highway after a runaway big rig killed two people and injured 12 others, and the driver was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter.
The 90-day ban, scheduled to take effect at midnight Sunday, would restrict five-axle trucks from traveling down the highway, also known as California 2, to the 210 Freeway in La Canada Flintridge.
The move comes amid criticism that the California Department of Transportation did not do enough to improve safety on the mountain highway after a big-rig accident last year in the same area.
“The ban is a very important statement,” Caltrans District 7 director Doug Failing said at a news conference.
During the temporary ban, transportation officials will examine various options, including restoring the truck-arrester lane, establishing a truck-break point and possibly making the ban permanent, Failing said.
“This is a good first step to making this road safe for the people who live here,” said Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), a former mayor of the foothill community who co-wrote legislation this week that would make the ban permanent. “The 90 days buys us time to get this right.”
Local officials have demanded for months that Caltrans improve safety on the highway. In September, a tractor-trailer carrying 78,000 pounds of onions lost its brakes and careened into cars in a restaurant parking lot in the 1000 block of Foothill Boulevard at Angeles Crest Highway.
On Friday, Mayor Laura Olhasso said the city welcomed Caltrans’ announcement, calling the move “important,” but only the “first step toward eliminating a major truck traffic hazard.”
The truck driver in Wednesday’s accident, 43-year-old Marcos Barbosa Costa of Massachusetts, has been charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Friday.
He was driving a double-deck, car-carrying truck with brake problems that crashed into several cars before plowing into a bookstore in the 900 block of Foothill Boulevard at Angeles Crest Highway.
Palmdale residents Angel Jorge Posca, 58, and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina, were killed.
California Highway Patrol Chief Warren A. Stanley, commander of the Southern Division office in Glendale, acknowledged the hazard of trucks using Angeles Crest Highway as a shortcut.
“We will have extra enforcement when the ban goes into place,” Stanley said. “We need to make sure that . . . truck drivers know about this.”
Girl Scout Malia Mailes’ report on the dangers of truck traffic on Angeles Crest Highway has been cited as an early warning that might have prevented this week’s deadly runaway big-rig accident.
View her full slide show at latimes.com/girlscout.