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Family members push for accountability after truck driver is charged with killing 5

Jesus Puebla is charged with five counts of vehicular manslaughter after the June crash that killed five people on Interstate 25.

WELD COUNTY, Colo — For nearly six months, the family members of five people who were killed by a truck wondered if the driver would ever be charged with a crime. 

Now, they say their prayers are being answered after the 26-year-old man was charged with six felonies in connection with the crash. 

Desiree Everts, whose daughter and granddaughter were killed in the June crash on Interstate 25, said all she wants is accountability.

"Our prayers are finally starting to be answered," Everts said. "He’s finally starting to be accountable for his actions. I’m very happy."

Everts waited nearly six months to see if anyone would be charged in the crash. Now, Jesus Puebla is charged with five counts of vehicular homicide -- one count for each person who died. 

Documents show Puebla was driving without a valid commercial driver’s license when he slammed into the back of the family's car as they were going back home to Wyoming.

Halie Everts and Aaron Godinez died, along with their daughter Tessleigh and both of Aaron’s parents, Christina and Emiliano. The truck slammed into their car going 75 miles an hour. The family had stopped for traffic and was moving just five miles an hour at the time.

"I’m just glad it finally has taken a turn and he’s being held accountable for what he deserves," Everts' son Haden Everts said. 

"There’s some relief off our shoulders and we’re able to sleep a little bit better," Everts said. "But I mean, nothing is going to bring them back, and we miss them terribly. It’s finally starting to go in a direction that it should."


Puebla is facing six felony charges and was arrested late Thursday night.

Investigators with Colorado State Patrol took more than five months to put together all the information before handing it over to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office. DA Michael Rourke said his office got the case in late November and filed charges less than two weeks later.

"We had information and evidence that he did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license," Rourke said. "We had information that there may have been safety violations on the semi-truck that he was driving at the time that he should have been aware of."

Investigators determined Puebla was not on his phone. They still don’t know why he made no attempt to brake before crashing into the cars.

The truck is owned by Caminantes Trucking based in California. The company has been involved in multiple deadly crashes in the past two years and has a history of allowing drivers on the road without proper licenses. 

That company is still allowed to operate on the road today, and the United States Postal Service continues to contract with them to carry mail, as the truck in the fatal crash was doing. The postal service has previously told 9NEWS it is reviewing the safety record of Caminantes and could make changes to its contract with the company.

Nothing will bring her family back, but Everts hopes someone is held accountable for the lives that were lost.

"Great souls lost way too soon. Half our family is gone. It’s just not fair," she said. "They deserve justice. All five of them didn’t deserve any of this."


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