A Whittier man was sentenced on Friday to 22 years and four months in prison for triggering a fiery, chain-reaction crash in 2016 that killed three people and injured four others on the 5 Freeway in Commerce, prosecutors announced.
The sentencing for 38-year-old Dealio Lockhart came after he pleaded guilty to 18 counts, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Lockhart entered guilty pleas to three counts of vehicular manslaughter, four counts of engaging in a vehicle speed contest and 11 counts of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, a DA’s news release stated.
He was initially charged with three counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving, and potentially faced up to life in prison.
Lockhart was involved in a road race on the 5 Freeway around midnight on Feb. 27, 2016, when he lost control of his vehicle and clipped a UPS truck, according to the release.
The big rig slammed into the center divider and went airborne before it landed on the wrong side of the freeway and burst into flames, authorities said.
Multiple vehicles were involved in the subsequent crash, including a Nissan that was struck by the semi.
The UPS driver, 52-year-old Scott Treadway, was killed in the crash, as were 18-year-old Brian Lewandowski and 19-year-old Michelle Littlefield, 19, both passengers in the Nissan, according to prosecutors.
Lewandowski and Littlefield were on their way back home from Disneyland with two others who were seriously injured in the collision. A man and a woman in other vehicles were also hurt.
A stretch of the 5 Freeway through Commerce was completely shut down for about 24 hours as crews repaired the heavily damaged roadway and authorities investigated the violent crash.