Guilty Plea in Fiery Avon Pileup

The owner of the dump truck that caused a deadly pileup at the base of Avon Mountain nearly four years ago is taking responsibility for his actions.

David Wilcox pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter and five counts of assault inside Hartford Superior Court Monday morning.  He also pleaded no contest to insurance fraud.

Four people died in the July 29, 2005 crash.  Five others were seriously hurt, including one who has since died. 

Prosecutors say Wilcox owned the dump truck that careened out of control due to catastrophic brake failure.  They also say Wilcox failed to properly maintain his fleet and that he tried to get insurance restored for the vehicles in the hours after the crash. 

"The bottom line was the vehicle, truck number 8, was found to be unsound, unsafe," said Dennis O'Connor, the prosecutor on the case.

Wilcox left court without talking to reporters.  "He wanted to bring closure to the matter today, closure for everyone involved," said Raymond Hassett, Wilcox's defense attorney.

The plea deal comes as Wilcox was to face his second trial in the case.  His first trial, for insurance fraud, ended in a hung jury.

Family members of the victims, and some survivors, attended the hearing.  Many of them wiped tears from their eyes as Wilcox entered his pleas.  

"When you put all the facts together, I think the fact that he's pleading guilty at this point and is going to serve some time before he leaves this planet, that's a good thing," said Mark Robinson, one of the survivors who was seriously hurt in the ordeal.   

Under the plea deal, Wilcox will serve no more than six years in prison.  He will be sentenced in June.  His wife and son will also be sentenced later in June for their roles.

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