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La Cañada History: 2 dead, 12 injured when runaway big-rig careens down Angeles Crest Highway and crashes into cars in heart of town

Carnage left by truck that also slammed into Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse Wednesday evening on
The scene on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, after a brakeless big-rig speeding downhill on Angeles Crest Highway slammed into vehicles before coming to rest inside a bookstore. The accident, which occurred around 5:30 p.m., killed two people and injured a dozen others.
(File Photo / La Cañada Valley Sun)

Ten Years Ago

A car-transport truck that was traveling downhill on Angeles Crest Highway lost its brakes shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, smashed into a car that was turning left onto ACH from the 210 Freeway, then careened into the highway’s intersection with Foothill Boulevard. There, additional cars were struck and the big-rig plowed through the wall of Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse, then located to the east of Hill Street Cafe. The first car the truck had slammed into was driven by Palmdale resident Angel Jorge Posca, 58, who died at the scene along with his sole passenger, his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina Posca. A dozen other people were injured. The deadly accident led to a ban on big-rigs traveling the highway, the installation of additional cautionary signage and the placement of bright yellow sand barrels at the base of an already existing gravel-filled runaway truck lane on the southbound side of the highway, which had been designed to stop brakeless vehicles but closed by Caltrans about a decade before the crash. In 2011 the big-rig’s driver, Marcos Costa, was convicted on two counts of vehicular manslaughter and three counts of reckless driving in the case and sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.

Twenty Years Ago

La Cañada school officials turned out for the groundbreaking ceremony that signaled work was to begin on a new student drop-off turnaround for seventh- and eighth-graders at La Cañada High. The target date for completion was mid-August 1999.


Thirty Years Ago

Teen Club Nine, which had been operating since October 1988 and averaging 40 to 60 youths per meeting, was preparing in early April 1989 for its six-month evaluation. The club was established by the city in response to the 1986 death of Joe Lutz, 17, during a party at a La Cañada residence. The hope was that youths 12 to 18 years of age would participate in a club that offered a no-alcohol, drug-free atmosphere.

Forty Years Ago

JPL scientist Don Lynn spoke during an Easter program to members and friends of La Cañada Masonic Lodge #739 about the Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth that had long been believed to be associated with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Lynn, a member of a team of American scientists invited to perform tests on the shroud, explained the details of the 1988 research project to his audience. Samples from the shroud were dated by the tests to a range of 1260-1390 AD.


Fifty Years Ago

Property owners along Knight Way joined forces with the Paradise Canyon Elementary School PTA to try to get sidewalks installed between Gould and Oakwood avenues after an accident that occurred when a 7-year-old boy ran into the street and was struck by a slow-moving car.

Sixty Years Ago

The Committee for La Cañada Community Baseball sent out in April 1959 fundraising letters to 5,000 local households as part of a campaign to complete construction of a modern, lighted baseball field on two acres of the old Spalding horse stable property, today the site of the La Cañada High School campus.

Compiled from the Valley Sun archives by Carol Cormaci.