Charges may be filed in crash

August 07, 2002 12:00 am

By AMY LINDBLOM

The California Highway Patrol is recommending that a Sonora woman who suffered critical burns in a fiery accident on Highway 108 face criminal charges in connection with the death of another driver in that July 3 crash.

Killed in the 2:30 a.m. collision of two big rigs was 29-year-old Oracio Lara of Merced.

According to a CHP report, the other driver involved, 40-year-old Pamela Short, had not taken enough time off between her two driving jobs and falsified driving records for the 48 hours prior to the deadly crash.

The CHP report — recommending Short be charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence — has been forwarded to the Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office for review. Deputy District Attorney John Hansen said he is awaiting more information from investigators before deciding whether to file any charges against Short.

In the meantime, Short remains at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center Regional Burn Center in Sacramento. Short's condition, listed as critical for nearly a month, has now been upgraded to fair. She was an independent driver for Shortline Transfer Service of Sonora. The truck she was driving is owned by her husband, Larry Short.

On July 1 and 2, Short was hauling asphalt for Central Valley Trucking in Modesto to a highway paving job east of Twain Harte being done by Teichert Construction and also sand for Frank Alegre Trucking in Stockton.

Lara, also hauling asphalt for the Teichert Construction job, was bringing asphalt to the same Highway 108 repaving project. At the time of the crash, Lara was going back to Modesto for another load of asphalt and Short was driving east up to Twain Harte with a full load.

Because all of Short's own driving records were destroyed in the crash, CHP investigators obtained Short's hauling records from both companies to establish a timeline.