Mistrial declared in vehicular manslaughter case

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The seven-week trial of a commercial driver charged with six counts of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter has ended in a hung jury and a mistrial declared in the case of 71-year-old Richard Lopez.

“The jury was hung today and a mistrial was declared,” Paul Eakins, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said late Wednesday afternoon. “A pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 26.”

At that April 26 hearing, Lopez lawyer Ben Mironer is expected to submit for the judge’s consideration, “an invitation to dismiss the case against his client.”

On that date, Sherilyn Garnett, presiding over Courtroom A at San Fernando Superior Court, is expected to either dismiss the case or order a new trial.

Asked how his client responded to news of the hung jury, Mironer said: “He’s been through so much, it still hasn’t sunk in.”

Jurors began deliberating Monday, and by the end of day three, notified the judge that they could not reach a verdict.

“Jurors were deadlocked,” Mironer said. “Eight jurors voted not guilty, four jurors voted guilty.”

Lopez is charged with six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter for allegedly having struck a minivan with his Freightliner truck at 3:37 a.m. on June 28, 2016, in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, just south of Gorman School Road.

The two women who died inside the burning 2016 Toyota Sienna minivan were Connie Wu Li and Flora Kuang, both 33. The children killed in the same vehicle were Jayden Li, 5; Lucas Li, 3; Sky Ng, 4; and Venus Ng, 2.

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On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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