Crime, Fire + Courts

Trial begins in triple-fatal freeway crash

By From page A1 | January 23, 2013

WOODLAND — Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of an Elk Grove man accused of causing a fiery August 2011 crash on a Woodland freeway that killed three people, including a 2-year-old girl.

Gubani Roderico Rosales Quinteros, 42, is charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, each of which carries five enhancements for infliction of great bodily injury. He has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

The trial is being held in Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock’s courtroom.

California Highway Patrol officials, who investigated the Aug. 8, 2011, crash on southbound Interstate 5 near Highway 113 said Quinteros was driving a box truck at a high rate of speed as he approached traffic that had slowed or stopped for a construction zone shortly before 1 p.m.

Quinteros reportedly changed lanes as he approached the gridlock and slammed his truck into five other vehicles, four of which burst into flames, along with the box truck, as a result of the impact. Three people died at the scene, while seven others, including Quinteros, suffered injuries including cuts, broken bones and burns.

Killed in the collision were Robert Lee Taylor, 53, and Linda Danell Taylor, 49, both of Monmouth, Ore., who were traveling in a Chevy Tahoe; and 2-year-old La-nessa Leann DeMillo of Tacoma, Wash., a passenger in an Acura Integra.

The injured victims ranged in age from 4 to 61, according to the CHP. A Ford van involved in the crash was the only vehicle to escape major damage, as well as injuries to the passengers, which included six teenagers and young adults.

As the CHP investigated the crash, officers learned that the alleged at-fault driver, who initially identified himself as 38-year-old Carlos Hernandez, was, in fact, Quinteros. The false name resulted in 37 additional counts of identity theft, forgery, burglary and perjury against Quinteros, whose offenses date back to 1996 in Sacramento, Colusa, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, according to his criminal complaint.

Quinteros also has pleaded not guilty to the identity theft charges, which Mock ordered severed from the current trial.

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

Lauren Keene

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