A Colorado truck driver involved that killed a family of five in an accident this past summer was arrested and charged with numerous felonies including vehicular homicide.
The Weld County district attorney’s office announced Friday that 26-year-old Jesus Puebla was charged with five felony counts of vehicular homicide following a June 13 collision on Interstate 25 that killed a family traveling home to Wyoming in a 2015 Ford Edge.
Neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected to have to played a role in the four-vehicle pile-up which shut down northbound traffic for hours near mile marker 243 about 30 miles north of Denver. CCJ reached out to Colorado State Patrol see if distracted driving including phone use may have been a factor.
“Inattentive driving is being considered as the primary causal factor,” Trooper Josh K. Lewis told CCJ. “However, I do not have information related to phone [use].”
According to the Colorado State Patrol, Puebla was driving a 1999 Kenworth box truck northbound in the left lane on I-25 when traffic ahead of him slowed down around 1:30 p.m.
Instead of reducing his speed, Puebla struck the Ford Edge and sent it into the center median where investigators believe he struck the SUV a second time before crashing into the median cable rail where the truck came to a stop.
Denver7.com reports that court documents indicate that Puebla was traveling 76 mph when he struck the Ford Edge. All five occupants of the SUV, which included a three-month-old baby, were pronounced dead on scene. Puebla was not injured.
A driver in a 2013 Ford Focus struck in the accident was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. Occupants in a 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander also damaged by the collision were not injured.
At the time of the accident, Lewis said Puebla was driving for Caminantes Trucking. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Caminantes Trucking is a 46-truck fleet based in Long Beach, California, contracted with the U.S. Postal Service.
In the past 24 months, Caminantes has undergone 223 vehicle inspections with an out of service rate of 27.8%. The national average for OOS fleet violations during that same time is 21.9%. Also during the past two years, Caminantes underwent 327 driver inspections resulting in an OOS driver violation rate of 5.8% which is below the national average of 6.47%.
Puebla also faces charges of vehicular assault, careless driving, reckless driving, a commercial vehicle safety violation and driving without a commercial driver's license. A court date has not yet been set. Lewis did not provide details on Puebla’s commercial vehicle safety violation. Caminantes Trucking has not yet responded to attempted contacts by CCJ.
Another fatal accident on Interstate 25 occurred less than an hour later that same day about eight miles south near mile marker 235.
CSP reports that a motorcyclist riding northbound on a 2021 Kawasaki had “changed lanes multiple times” and had been traveling at a “high rate of speed” when he collided with a semi which sent him into the path of another tractor-trailer. The 30-year-old Northglenn resident was declared dead at the scene.