A new filing reveals that an oversight left a trucking company uninsured but still operating for years before their driver crashed into a stopped car, killing five.
The June 2022 accident happened in Weld County, Colorado along Interstate 25 when a Caminantes semi truck driven by 26-at-the-time Jesus Puebla crashed into a stopped car, killing five family members. Puebla was arrested on December 8th, but a new filing in the lawsuit against Caminantes alleges that the company did not have insurance for over two years prior to the fatal wreck.
According to 9 News, the filing alleges that State Farm Insurance canceled Caminantes’ insurance policy in 2020 due to “severe safety violations and unsafe history.” The suit states that State Farm was obligated to inform the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration about the company’s lack of coverage, but never did, so the agency allowed Caminantes to operate for years without insurance. Caminantes was even working with the US Postal Service while it was uninsured.
“28 months before the crash, this motor carrier loses its insurance coverage because it’s been in so many wrecks, so many violations, so many safety violations,” said Grant Lawson, a lawyer with Metier Law Firm representing surviving members of the family. “The insurance company that pulled its insurance never notified the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. At the same time, we have the United States governments through the United States Postal Service still continuing to contract with this trucking company.”
The lawsuit alleges that the company should have had insurance; USPS should have checked on the company’s insured status before hiring them; State Farm should have told the government they canceled the insurance plan; and the FMCSA should have stopped the truck from being on the road at all. Because of this, the family of those killed in the wreck are filing the suit against Caminantes Trucking, State Farm and USPS in federal court. There is also a criminal lawsuit in Weld County against the truck driver, who has been charged with vehicular homicide.
“We have an organization that’s responsible for policing hundreds of thousands of trucking companies. They are understaffed. They are overwhelmed. They do not have enough resources. They do not have enough people to make sure the rules and regulations are being followed,” Lawson said of the FMCSA.
“If this happened here, how many other trucking companies out there are getting away with the same thing,” Lawson said.
The trucking company also apparently attempted to purchase insurance just after the fatal wreck, the truck driver was not properly licensed, and the truck was operating with faulty brakes at the time of the crash.
Even after all of those transgressions, the company, legally called Jose Mauricio Coreas after the owner, has not been shut down and was fined only $21,460 for the wreck. The USPS also continued working with the company for months before finally dropping them.