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Galt man charged in fatal crash

California Highway Patrol: Collision caused fuel tanker to explode

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Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:00 am

A Galt man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after a Saturday crash caused a fuel tanker to explode and fatally injure an unidentified Modesto man.

The collision took place at 1:30 p.m. in an unincorporated area of San Joaquin County southeast of Stockton, according to Officer James Smith, information officer for the California Highway Patrol.

David A. Costa of Ripon, driving a 1997 International pickup truck, was stopped in the westbound lane of Mariposa Road while waiting to make a left turn onto Dodds Road, according to a CHP report released by Smith.

Jamie Portillo of Galt was driving a 1993 International pickup behind Costa when he swerved into the left lane and oncoming traffic, according to the report. He collided with a fuel tanker driving in the opposite direction in the eastbound lane. Portillo then swerved back to the right, where he crashed into Costa’s vehicle, according to Smith. Portillo’s vehicle came to rest in the center of both lanes, blocking Mariposa Road.

The fuel tanker, holding 8,000 gallons of fuel, was ruptured and the fuel ignited, lighting 1,000 feet of road and the adjacent property on fire as the truck rolled to a stop.

Witnesses helped the truck driver out of the tanker. He was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.

Costa was not injured. Portillo sustained minor injuries but did not seek medical care.

Portillo was not arrested at the time of the accident, but he now faces charges of vehicular manslaughter because the truck driver’s injuries proved fatal.

The identity of the man driving the fuel tanker is still confidential until family can be notified.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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