A year and 4 days after being arrested and charged with multiple counts of manslaughter and property damage for an accident that killed 27 people and caused millions of dollars in property damage in Ecatepec Mexico, the driver of a double propane tanker is being released from prison this afternoon after the conclusion of a short trial, that has taken a year to come to fruition
Juan Omar Diaz Olivares who was driving for Termogas had just left the loading racks in this city, a suburb of Mexico City in the early morning hours when while trying to avoid a van that had cut him off, his second trailer loaded with propane separated and exploded.
Diaz, who was severely burned in the accident was taken into custody in the hospital and charged with 27 counts of manslaughter and numerous counts of property damage.
Gabriel Calvillo Díaz, the defense lawyer for Diaz Olivares explained that Juan Omar was the victim of a tragic accident that he had little control over and not of an incident that warranted criminal sanctions.
Díaz Olivares, who suffered severe burns all over 90% of his body will undergo reconstructive surgery this week. He has been held in the Chiconautla prison since shortly after the fateful incident occurred the morning of May 7, 2013 at kilometer 14 of Mexico-Pachuca highway.
UPDATE – DIAZ OLIVARES SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS PRISON TIME – RESTITUTION FOR DAMAGES
When I originally wrote this article, it was based on brief information and some facts got lost in the translation.
In a mini trial that lasted four hours in a courtroom within the penitentiary where Diaz Olivares has been incarcerated for the past year, Judge Dolores García Nava determined that Juan Omar was guilty of wrongful death, injury and damage to property. She sentenced the driver to 6 months in prison and fined him the equivalent of 30 days pay based not on his salary, but on the prevailing published minimum wage for his occupation as determined by the Labor Ministry.
That fine amounted to approximately $150.00 calculated at 30 days x $64.63 pesos per day.
In addition, Diaz Olivares was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $942,000.00 pesos, in compensation for claims of death, injury and property damage which ranged from $900 pesos to $647,000.00 pesos.
The owners of the transport company Juan Omar was employed by had already deposited the amounts in escrow with the court and because of that was allowed to walk free. He is however, required to report to the court in person every 15 days until all claims have been satisfied surrounding the accident.
Pretty tough penalty for an accident where the driver had little control over the cause and subsequent effect. But that’s Mexico where professional drivers are held to a much higher standard than their US or Canadian contemporaries.
Unlike us, they have rules and consequences. Break the rules and the consequences are severe, often including prison until the case is decided and almost never in the drivers favor.
This post is part of the following threads: Mexico Trucking, Termogas Tragedy – ongoing stories on this site. View the thread timelines for more context on this post.
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.