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Suit filed in crash killing CUSD nurse, 25
Ceres Unified School District nurse Sarah Garcia was killed in a 2015 accident near Manteca. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The parents of a 25-year-old Ceres school nurse killed last year in a chain-reaction truck accident near Manteca have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Don and Brenda Garcia filed the lawsuit yesterday for the wrongful death of their daughter, Sarah M. Garcia. She died in a May 7, 2015 crash when she slowed down for freeway traffic but a big-rig behind her did not, slamming into the back of her car and killing her instantly.

Defendants in the lawsuit are Bridge Terminal Transport Services, XPO Logistics, Flexi-Van Leasing and truck driver Mirwais Ghaus.

Ghaus faces criminal charges due to the crash and is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Oct. 25 in Stockton.

Garcia was driving at 7:42 a.m. from San Ramon to Ceres where she had been hired as a school nurse by the Ceres Unified School District. She had left a higher paying nursing job at a hospital because she wanted to be where she could work with and support children in a low-income community. Driving her Toyota Corolla eastbound on State Route 120 in Manteca, Garcia was in the number 2 lane approaching the Main Street exit/overpass. Approximately 420 feet before the exit, a Caltrans message sign was warning drivers of slowing traffic due to the common slow-down at that location from exiting vehicles. Garcia slowed down as the line of vehicles in front of her slowed to a near stop. Witnesses said the Toyota was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer rig driven by Ghaus, who allegedly did not apply his brakes until after impact. The crash killed Garcia and caused a chain of collisions involving several vehicles that injured three others.

Garcia was survived by her mother, Brenda, her father, Don, and her brother, David.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Transportation report, in the past 24 months XPO Logistics has been involved in four fatal incidents, and 44 incidents that resulted in injuries and XPO drivers have been cited 85 times for speeding, including 28 times for speeds of 11 mph, or more, above the posted speed limit.

"It is very unfortunate that a company like XPO Logistics, one of the top global logistics companies in the world, won't step up and take full responsibility for the harm that one of its truck drivers caused in this horrific truck crash resulting in the tragic death of such a remarkable young woman," said Katherine Harvey-Lee of the Los Angeles-based law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman P.C.

XPO Logistics is the third largest freight brokerage firm and intermodal provider in North America and one of the world's 10 largest providers of transportation and logistics services. XPO acquired Bridge Terminal Transport just days before this tragedy. XPO Logistics has locations all over the world, including Sacramento.