Owner of truck in deadly Marysville crash makes plea deal
The owner of a commercial trucking company pleaded no contest Friday to falsifying evidence during the investigation of a collision last year on Highway 20 that killed a Recology driver.
Jasbir Singh Sangha, owner of JS Trucking in Yuba City, cut a deal with prosecutors in Yuba County Superior Court to avoid prison time.
"Obviously there's no way to bring the victim back," Deputy District Attorney Shiloh Sorbello said, "but it's nice to see a dose of justice for the family."
Gary Mathis, 43, was killed June 28, 2011, on Highway 20, south of East 22nd Street in Marysville. Mathis' truck collided head on with a semi-truck traveling in the opposite direction.
Mathis' family declined comment Friday. Prosecutors said the family supported the plea deal.
Prosecutors dismissed a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge in exchange for the plea because Sangha has no prior criminal history and was not driving the truck at the time of the crash.
The driver, 74-year-old Ernest Allan Coublucq, pleaded no contest in August to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
Investigators said the truck's brakes were not adjusted properly and the tires were bald, which caused the vehicle to fishtail and crash into Mathis' truck.
Sangha knew his semi-truck was deficient, but encouraged Coublucq to keep it on the road anyway, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Sangha tried to duck responsibility by doctoring bogus lease and liability waivers after the crash that indicated he had sold the truck to Coublucq four weeks earlier.
Prosecutors agreed not to seek any jail time for Sangha, but Judge Julia L. Scrogin made it clear the trucking company owner could still receive up to a year in the county jail.
Scrogin ordered the Yuba County Probation Department to prepare a sentencing report.
Sangha's deal includes five years of probation and victim restitution.
If Sangha violates his probation, he faces up to three years in prison, Sorbello said. Coublucq also faces up to a year in jail.
Both defendants faced up to four years behind bars before accepting plea bargains.
"I think it was a positive result," Sorbello said. "I think everyone responsible for Gary's untimely death were ultimately held accountable."
Sentencing for both men is scheduled Dec. 3 in Yuba County Superior Court.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.