Trial begins for man facing six vehicular manslaughter misdemeanor counts

Law enforcement personnel examine a vehicle involved in a fiery crash on Interstate 5 that killed six people. Photo courtesy of Rick McClure

The jury trial of a truck driver accused of manslaughter in the deaths of two women and four children killed in 2016 is now underway in San Fernando.

Richard Lopez, 70, of Walnut, faces six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter and one misdemeanor count of failing to comply with California Highway Patrol rules regarding hours of service for drivers, according to Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Jury selection wrapped up Monday.

“This jury trial is in progress,” Santiago said Tuesday.

A crash killed Connie Wu Li, 33; Flora Kuang, 33; Jayden Li, 5; Lucas Li, 3; Sky Ng, 4; and Venus Ng, 2, when they were in a van from Daly City that broke down and was partially blocking the right lane near Gorman School Road on June 28, 2016, prosecutors said shortly after the incident.

When the tractor-trailer Lopez was driving crashed into the van, it erupted in flames and went down an embankment, they said at that time.

The commercial truck driver had not rested the legally mandated 10 hours after allegedly driving for more than 15 hours, according to the criminal complaint.

If convicted as charged, Lopez faces a possible maximum sentence of six years in jail, Santiago said at the time charges were filed.

Two others were injured when the semi-truck crashed into the minivan.

A silver Toyota Sienna minivan had come to rest partially in the right lane after it was involved in a minor collision with a BMW.   

The semi-truck then allegedly struck the minivan, according to the California Highway Patrol.   

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