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DA: Truck driver to stand trial for death of 2 people on Highway 99

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DA: Truck driver to stand trial for death of 2 people on Highway 99

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - A man will stand trial on two counts of felony gross vehicular manslaughter for a four-vehicle crash on June 21, 2019, the Butte County District Attorney’s Office said.

In the crash on June 21, two people died and four were seriously injured, the Attorney’s Office said.

57-year-old Thomas Fairhurst of Antioch, Calif. was driving a 26,000-pound dump truck on Highway 99 and was heading northbound.

Fairhurst approached a red light at Neal Rd. and crashed into the rear end of a Chevrolet Aveo at 55 mph while the Aveo was stopped at the red light.

The Attorney’s Office said there was no evidence of braking by Fairhurst before crashing into the Avelo.

The Avelo was pushed into a Toyota Sienna that was stopped at the light. The Sienna was then pushed under a semi-truck that was stopped in front of the Sienna at the light, the office said.

RELATED: CHP releases names of those injured in deadly crash on Highway 99 and Neal Road

53-year-old Donald Shippen and 56-year-old Apryl Shippen were in the Avelo and were killed in the crash. Their son was the driver of the vehicle and was taken to Enloe Medical Center for major injuries.

The three people in the Sienna suffered major injuries as Fairhurst and the driver of the semi-truck were uninjured.

California Highway Patrol investigators said in court Tuesday that Fairhurst was at parties and late-night activities days before the crash, District Attorney Mike Ramsey said.

CHP investigators said Fairhurst did not get the sleep needed to drive the commercial vehicle safely. Investigators added Fairhurst was fatigued and believe Fairhurst was not aware of the stopped traffic ahead.

Fairhurst will be in court on Sept. 8 to set a trial date as he faces up to 19 years in state prison.

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