The second retrial for a man accused of killing six people in a fiery 2016 traffic collision in Gorman is set to continue in September, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Richard Lopez, 72, is accused of six counts of misdemeanor mandatory manslaughter and one count of failure to comply with California Highway Patrol regulations as a commercial driver.
In February of this year, Lopez’s first retrial ended with a split decision among the jurors, with seven voting guilty and five not guilty on the six charges of manslaughter.
The initial trial had also ended in a hung jury in 2019, and was declared a mistrial by Judge Sherilyn Garnett.
Since the onset of the trial, the prosecution has been attempting to prove that, in the early-morning hours of June 28, 2016, Lopez had been negligent when his commercial vehicle, a Freightliner semi-truck, collided with a minivan on Interstate 5, near Gorman School Road.
The collision sent the minivan off the freeway, and killed all six occupants, including two women and four children: Connie Wu Li, 33; Flora Kuang, 33; Jayden Li, 5; Lucas Li, 3; Sky Ng, 4; and Venus Ng, 2.
However, defense attorney Ben Mironer has argued that the minivan had been jutting out into the fast-moving freeway traffic, and that the vehicle’s emergency hazard lights had not been on despite being pulled over on the right shoulder of the freeway.
The prosecution has pinned its case on the argument that Lopez had reportedly worked a 14-hour day that day, had not taken his legally mandated 10-hour rest and therefore was fatigued while driving during the early-morning hours.
Lopez, since his first trial, has been released from custody on his own recognizance.
He is scheduled to once again return to the San Fernando Courthouse on Sept. 18.