Crime, Fire + Courts

Mistrial declared in vehicular manslaughter case

By From page A1 | February 07, 2013

A mistrial has been declared in the case of Gubani Roderico Rosales Quinteros, the Elk Grove parcel deliveryman accused of causing a fiery triple-fatal crash in Woodland.

Quinteros, 42, was being tried in Yolo Superior Court on three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and four identity theft-related charges in connection with the Aug. 8, 2011, wreck on Interstate 5.

Jurors were in their second day of deliberations in the 10-day trial when word reached attorneys that the panel was at an impasse, Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Susz said.

According to Susz, two jurors had been dismissed from the trial due to family illnesses, and no alternates were left when the jury began its deliberations Tuesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, jurors reported to Judge Stephen Mock they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict because one juror “felt that they couldn’t continue the process of deliberating,” Susz said.

She declined to elaborate, but said the jury did find Quinteros guilty of two of the four identity-theft counts. The charges stemmed from a false name he allegedly had used since 1996 and provided to California Highway Patrol investigators following the crash.

Mock declared a mistrial and set a July 8 date for the case to be retried.

Quinteros’ attorney, Chief Deputy Public Defender Allison Zuvela, declined to comment on Wednesday’s events, citing the pending retrial.

During opening statements in the trial last month, Susz claimed Quinteros was driving recklessly when his box truck slammed at 70 mph into traffic that had backed up for a freeway construction zone on southbound I-5 near the County Road 102 exit.

The wreck involved six vehicles in all — five of which caught fire — and killed three people, including a married couple from Oregon and a 2-year-old Washington girl, all of whom were en route to visit family. Seven others were injured.

Zuvela noted her client was neither speeding nor under the influence at the time of the crash. She alleged that a poorly planned construction zone was to blame because it provided insufficient warning of an upcoming lane closure.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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