Tow-truck driver to be retried

first_imgLANCASTER – Prosecutors will try for a second time a tow-truck driver involved in a head-on Highway 138 collision that killed a 72-year-old Palmdale man. A mistrial was declared in October in the case of James Herbert White after Antelope Valley Superior Court jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal on a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. They convicted him of misdemeanor reckless driving. “We think he’s guilty of a felony. We think it goes beyond a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter conduct,” Deputy District Attorney Guy Shirley said. Sentencing for the misdemeanor conviction was put off pending the second trial. The Pailliotet family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June against the California Department of Transportation, saying Caltrans should have done more to make the dangerous roadway safer. The collision occurred near Avenue W, where the two-lane highway makes one of two bends just east of the hamlet of Llano. White was driving back to the Chino area after dropping off a car in Palmdale, attorneys said. White and other motorists pulled the Pailliotets from their burning truck, a California Highway Patrol report said. Highway 138 at Avenue W was the site of a 1998 crash that killed a young couple and injured their 10-month-old son when their Jeep Wrangler was hit by a pickup that went out of control on a curve. The young woman’s father waged a billboard campaign to improve the highway, now being widened to four lanes farther west toward Palmdale. [email protected] (661) 267-5744 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Shirley declined to specifically say what he might do differently in the next trial. “There are some things. I did talk to some people on the jury. They had concerns,” Shirley said. White’s attorney could not be reached for comment but said after the verdict that the crash was an accident and did not constitute gross negligence. The June 10, 2005, crash killed Richard Pailliotet and injured his wife, Susan, who were celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary and returning from a trip to the Grand Canyon. The Pailliotets’ pickup was hit head-on by White’s tow truck as he crossed over the highway center line in an attempt to pass a big-rig truck, authorities said. last_img read more