Sentence starts in Recology death
The owner of a commercial truck that killed a Recology Yuba-Sutter driver last year will spend the next six months in jail.
Jasbir Singh Sangha began his 180-day sentence on Tuesday at the Yuba County Jail, Undersheriff Jerry Read confirmed.
Gary Mathis, 43, was killed June 28, 2011, on Highway 20. Mathis' truck collided head on with a semi-truck owned by Sangha traveling the opposite way and driven by 74-year-old Ernest Allan Coublucq.
Mathis was survived by his parents, siblings and a 12-year-old daughter.
Tamra Starling, Mathis' sister, wrote a letter to the court describing her family's grief.
"My parents have no sons left and are very depressed," Starling wrote. "My niece will not have her loving father by her side when she marries one day."
Sangha, 31, owned JS Trucking and employed Coublucq as a driver. He no longer operates the company, according to court records.
Yuba County prosecutors said Sangha knew the truck's brakes were out of adjustment and the tires were bald, which caused the vehicle to fishtail into the opposite lane and crash into Mathis' truck.
Despite the known deficiencies, Sangha forced Coublucq to keep the truck on the road, which caused Mathis' death, prosecutors said.
Sangha doctored phony lease and liability waivers after the crash, claiming he had sold the truck to Coublucq a month before the deadly wreck, prosecutors said.
Judge Julia L. Scrogin formally sentenced Sangha on Monday in Yuba County Superior Court.
Sangha pleaded no contest Oct. 12 to falsifying evidence and, in exchange, prosecutors dismissed a vehicular manslaughter charge. As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek jail time, but Scrogin imposed incarceration anyway.
Sangha's sentence includes five years of probation and victim restitution. He faces up to three years in prison if he violates his probation. Sangha is prohibited from driving a vehicle, except going to and from work, according to court records.
Coublucq was sentenced to five years of probation and his driver's license was suspended.
In a letter to the court, Sangha expressed sorrow over the incident, but stopped short of apologizing.
Sangha said he hoped "everyone can forgive me if I have done something wrong."
He went on to say he knew he "may be looked as (sic) the bad guy in this situation," but that he did feel "sad" and said "my heart goes out to the family."
Yuba County probation officials criticized Sangha, saying he had given "little attention" to the pain of the Mathis family. Officials recommended incarceration, saying it was the "only way" to make Sangha understand the affect of his actions.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat