WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Six months after a truck slammed into the back of a car on Interstate 25, killing a family driving back home to Wyoming, the driver has been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide.
Jesus Puebla, 26, was arrested Thursday night in connection to the June 13 crash at mile marker 243 in Weld County.
Documents show Puebla didn't have a valid commercial driver's license. The truck's brakes also had so many problems investigators said it should never have been on the road.
Puebla is charged with:
- 5 counts of felony vehicular homicide
- 1 count of felony vehicular assault
- 1 count of careless driving
- 1 count of reckless driving
- 1 count of driving without a commercial driver's license
- 1 count related to a commercial vehicle safety violation
"We're talking about felony conduct that carries with it a potential department of corrections sentence," said Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke.
Rourke said the fact that Puebla didn't have a valid commercial driver's license was an aggravating factor in his decision to charge him with six felony counts.
"Based on the information and evidence given to us by the Colorado State Patrol, we concluded that the vehicular assault, vehicular homicide charges were most appropriate under a reckless driving theory," said Rourke.
State patrol investigators determined the truck was moving 75 miles an hour when it slammed into traffic that had slowed down because of a backup. The car that Puebla hit with his truck was moving at just five miles an hour. Documents show Puebla made no attempt to brake that June afternoon.
"These are serious charges," said Grant Lawson, Godinez's family lawyer. "Felonious vehicular homicide is a very serious charge."
Lawson represented some of the family members of the victims of the crash. Aaron Godinez and Halie Everts were killed, along with their daughter Tessleigh and Aaron's parents, Christina and Emiliano. Now there's hope there will be justice.
"All the pressure on their shoulders and fear and doubt that nothing was going to happen, that this man was going to be able to walk away with maybe a slap on the wrist, maybe nothing at all, that was lifted today," Lawson said.
Nearly six months after the crash, the focus now moves to the courtroom.
The company that owned the truck involved in this crash has a history of deadly crashes and allowing drivers on the road without valid commercial driver's licenses.
Caminantes Trucking is still allowed to operate on the road today and is still contracting with the United States Postal Service to carry mail.
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