Piece of Mind: No winners, only losers

We have been waiting anxiously this week — those of us keeping a close eye on the Marcos Costa murder trial — for a verdict in the case of the tragic April 1, 2009 runaway truck crash in La Cañada. As of Wednesday afternoon, no verdict had been rendered.

The jury was given quite a task on July 21, weighing all the evidence provided by both sides. It’s a testament to the conscientiousness of those serving on the panel that they have taken their time in reaching a decision.

The Valley Sun will post on its website the verdict as soon as we learn it. In case you don’t already have us bookmarked, you can find the paper at www.lacanadaonline.com.

Whether or not we agree on the outcome of the trial, I think it’s safe to say it was a no-win situation. The Posca family, which lost two loved ones in that crash 28 months ago, can experience no true relief when this trial comes to an end. And regardless of the verdict, Costa’s life will never be the same. Neither will his wife’s. Our city and state, no doubt thought of as having deep pockets (debatable in these awful times), face lawsuits in the case.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that as residents of this city, we too have lost. Facing the fact that two people died and many were injured in a horrific crash here, we can no longer feel secure when traveling through the heart of town. I was reminded the other day, when rereading the Valley Sun’s 2008 article detailing runaway accidents on Angeles Crest at Foothill Boulevard, how vulnerable we still remain at that heavily-traveled intersection.

We continue to be susceptible to accidents despite the fact that as a direct result of the deadly crash, state government and Caltrans were forced to get into gear and address safety issues on the Crest. We now have a ban prohibiting big trucks on the highway (except, obviously, for those required to do business here in town), the long-abandoned runaway vehicle escape medians in the center of the straightaway were restored, and missing signage advising drivers of the medians’ purpose was reinstalled.

These all mitigate the danger, but can’t eliminate it entirely. History shows that some of the vehicles (cars and trucks alike) that have crashed on Foothill at the base of the Crest had their brakes fail south of those medians. Short of demanding the closure of the highway to traffic entirely, which would no doubt be a fruitless quest, the only thing we can do is take responsibility for our own safety.

The Costa case, believe me, is a trial we have taken no pleasure in reporting. There are no winners, only losers — all the way around.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the La Canada Valley Sun. She can be reached at ccormaci@valleysun.net or carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2019, La Cañada Valley Sun
EDITION: California | U.S. & World