September 23, 2023

Lower than two hours after considered one of its drivers was concerned in a crash that killed 5 folks on a Colorado freeway, a trucking firm tried to purchase insurance coverage, in accordance with courtroom paperwork.

A grievance filed in U.S. District Courtroom for Colorado by a Wisconsin insurance coverage firm alleges the truck was not insured on the time of the wreck on June 13, 2022.

The crash — at 1:27 p.m. on Interstate 25 about 30 miles north of Denver – killed Halie Everts, 20; her fiancé, Aaron Godinez, 20; their 3-month-old daughter, Tessleigh; and each of Godinez’s mother and father.

At 2:49 p.m., Fortunate 22, a now-defunct trucking firm based mostly in Arvada, Colo., made the request so as to add the concerned truck to its coverage, Artisan and Truckers Casualty Co. alleged within the grievance.

9News first reported the corporate’s insurance coverage request.

The insurance coverage declare comes amid severe questions in regards to the security historical past of the trucking firm.

“It’s been an onion,” mentioned Grant Lawson, an lawyer for the household. “We proceed to peel again layer after layer and discover out extremely extra horrendous stuff — from the highest down.”

The household was driving to their house in Gillette, Wyoming. Close to Mead, Colo., they encountered a backup on the interstate and slowed to lower than 10 mph.

Jesus Puebla was going about 76 mph when his 1999 Kenworth T800 field truck rear-ended the household’s Ford Edge SUV.

A witness informed investigators that Puebla was driving aggressively earlier than the crash, together with tailgating at excessive pace.

Puebla, then 26, was arrested in December and charged with 5 counts of vehicular murder and one depend of vehicular assault. He additionally faces counts of careless driving, reckless driving, a industrial car security violation and for driving with out a industrial license.

His case is ready for trial in November.

Puebla, Fortunate 22 and a California trucking firm, Caminantes Trucking, all face further lawsuits in state and federal courtroom from members of the family of these killed.

Attorneys for the driving force and firms declined to remark for this story.

The Fortunate 22 truck was carrying U.S. Postal Service mail as a subcontractor of Caminantes, which is predicated in Lengthy Seaside. Lawson mentioned Fortunate 22 was owned by the son of Jose Coreas, the proprietor of Caminantes.

Federal trucking data present Caminantes drivers beforehand operated vans with out a industrial driver’s license and employed drivers beneath 21 years outdated, amongst different violations. Caminantes had 92 vans working on U.S. roads and highways, Lawson mentioned. None of their drivers have been coated with insurance coverage.

“There have been so many alternatives to catch this stuff to stop this and none of them occurred,” the lawyer mentioned.

In 2021, a Caminantes truck was concerned in a fiery deadly crash on Interstate 15 in Temecula. The field truck rear-ended a Prius that had slowed as a result of site visitors was stopped forward. The automobile’s driver, an 18-year-old highschool scholar, was killed. The truck’s driver was charged with homicide and gross vehicular manslaughter whereas intoxicated.

USPS continued its contract with Caminantes for months after the Colorado incident, 9News reported in November, even after studying the driving force didn’t have a license. Postal officers lastly terminated the settlement in February.

Lawson mentioned he plans so as to add USPS to the federal lawsuit.

“It seems USPS did nothing to make sure it was hiring a motor provider that was protected,” the lawyer mentioned. “Caminantes had an egregious historical past of security violations … but they continued to contract with them and rent them to ship US mail.”

A USPS spokesperson mentioned he couldn’t touch upon pending litigation. Postal officers beforehand informed 9News that “on the time of the issuance of the contract, the postal service obtained the mandatory and required insurance coverage validation by Caminantes Trucking.”