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Truck driver convicted of vehicular homicide for 2022 crash that killed 5 in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — A Denver truck driver has been convicted of five counts of vehicular homicide for crashing a semi tractor-trailer into a sport utility vehicle carrying a Wyoming family in June 2022, killing all five of them.

A Weld County jury also convicted Jesus Puebla of five other counts on Wednesday, including reckless driving and not having a valid commercial driver's license, for the crash on Interstate 25 north of Denver, KUSA-TV reported.

Investigators say Puebla's truck was traveling 76 mph (122 kph) when it slammed into an SUV that was traveling about 6 mph (10 kph) due to backed up traffic. The truck also struck other vehicles, injuring another person. Puebla was not injured, court records said.

Puebla's attorney argued the company that owned the truck was at fault. Puebla testified that the brakes didn't work and he tried to downshift to slow the truck down. The Colorado State Patrol found the brakes were not working.

Prosecutors argued that Puebla had been driving recklessly for miles before the crash and failed to notice that traffic had slowed. He should not have been driving with an expired license and a pre-trip inspection should have revealed the truck wasn't safe to drive, prosecutors said.

The crash killed Aaron Godines and Halie Everts of Gillette, Wyoming, and their 3-month-old daughter, Tessleigh Godines. Aaron Godines' parents, Emiliano and Christina Godines, were also killed.

Puebla’s sentencing is set for June 21.