A commercial truck driver who allegedly slammed into a disabled van on the 5 Freeway, causing a fiery crash that killed two mothers and four of their children in Gorman more than a year ago, has been charged, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Richard Lopez, 60, pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter and another misdemeanor count of failing to comply with California Highway Patrol rules about service hours for drivers, according to a DA’s news release.
The crash, which happened on June 28, 2016, killed 33-year-old Connie Wu Li, 33-Flora Kuang, 5-year-old Jayden Li, 3-year-old Lucas Li, 4-year-old Sky Ng and 2-year-old Venus Ng, the release stated.
The victims, from the Bay Area, were in a van that had broken down on the 5 Freeway and partially blocked the right lane near Gorman School Road in the early morning hours.
Lopez was driving a tractor trailer when it crashed into the van, prosecutors said. The victims’ vehicle caught fire and went down and embankment, killing six of the occupants.
Two fathers were also in the car, but managed to escape. They had tried to rescue their families, but CHP officers held them back from the fiery wreck, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Lopez — who had allegedly been driving at that point for more than 15 hours — had not rested the legally mandated 10 hours, according to the criminal complaint.
He faces a maximum sentence of six years in jail if convicted on the charges, the DA’s office said.