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Truck driver pleads not guilty in fatal Highway 14 collision

Posted: July 29, 2013 6:18 p.m.
Updated: July 29, 2013 6:19 p.m.

A 65-year-old truck driver charged with felony hit and run in connection with a string of three major crashes on Highway 14 last month pleaded not guilty to the charge in San Fernando Superior Court on Monday.

Nicolas M Hernandez of Porterville appeared in San Fernando Superior Court to enter the plea, spokeswoman Shiara Dávila-Morales.

He remains in custody at the Pitchess Detention Center North Facility with bail set at $1 million and is scheduled to appear in court next month to set a date for his preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors say Hernandez was driving northbound on Highway 14 north of Agua Dulce Canyon Road on June 29 when his 2013 Freightliner truck struck and killed a Pomona woman, Reyna Palacios, 44, who was standing outside her disabled vehicle.

Hernandez allegedly left the scene and was later stopped by California Highway Patrol officers traveling southbound on Highway 14 near Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

The crash shut down Highway 14 in both directions for several hours, leaving stranded drivers to swelter in 100-plus-degree heat and causing many vehicles to overheat.

It was the second fatal collision on Highway 14 within a month. Previously, a Burbank resident was charged with murder for allegedly driving the wrong way on the northbound 14, causing a collision that killed two people.

And earlier, a Canyon Country man was arrested for driving the wrong way on Highway 14, injuring 13 in a series of collisions.




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