Santa Maria Jury Finds Forklift Driver Guilty

A Santa Maria jury on Wednesday found Daniel Castillo guilty on two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count of driving under the influence causing injury, and one count of driving recklessly causing serious bodily injury, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

On August 29, 2013 in Santa Maria, Castillo collided with a car while operating a 12,000-pound forklift backwards at full speed, resulting in the deaths of Adolfo Pozos, the 16-year old driver of the vehicle, and his aunt, 49-year old Casilda Pozos. Adolfo’s mother, Mahayte Pozos, and sister, Celizeth Pozos, also suffered major injuries. Castillo had useed methamphetamine prior to the collision.

Castillo will be sentenced on March 19 in Santa Maria Superior Court. He could face up to 13-15 years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence. When asked about the possible minimum sentence Castillo could receive, prosecutor Stephen Foley stated, “under rare circumstances, he could receive probation,” depending on how the judge decides to direct the sentencing.

Family members of both victims were present in court during the announcement of the verdict, including the two surviving victims. Foley said that the victims’ family members were “extremely gratified that the criminal justice system worked for them.”

District Attorney Joyce Dudley also commented on the jury’s decision, stating that the “successful jury verdict was a direct result of the perseverance, diligence, and hard work by the officers of the California Highway Patrol and the staff at the District Attorney’s Office, led by Stephen Foley.” Continuing, Dudley said this case was “another heart-breaking instance that proves driving under the influence of ‘meth’ or any intoxicating substance kills.”

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