Man sentenced to 20 days in jail for fatally striking woman with bus near Long Beach courthouse

A verdict was reached in the case of a bus driver who fatally struck a woman near the Long Beach courthouse in February last year.

A judge sentenced Juan Castro-Alvarenga, 27, of Van Nuys to 20 days in jail along with community labor for fatally striking a Long Beach woman as she crossed the street, said city prosecutor Doug Haubert.

Castro-Alvarenga was also sentenced to 15 days of community labor, 10 days of community service helping the homeless and one year of probation, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said camera footage captured the scene as the bus driven by Castro-Alvarenga struck Mamlekat Joseph, 71, of Long Beach, while Castro-Alvarenga was making a left turn at an intersection in Downtown Long Beach.

After striking Joseph, the bus continued to turn left, crushing her under the weight of the vehicle, prosecutors said.

The bus was being chartered by an event promoter at the time of the incident and Castro-Alvarenga was a contract driver, hired to transport passengers to and from a nearby reggae festival, according to prosecutors. At the time, prosecutors believe Joseph was obeying all traffic laws, crossing the street in a crosswalk on a green “WALK” light.

Police originally told the Long Beach Post that Castro-Alvarenga remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

Castro-Alvarenga had originally pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors said. Over a year later he pleaded no contest in open court Tuesday, Haubert said.

“Although it was not the sentence we requested, we believe the judge was fair to all sides,” Haubert said in a statement. “The sentence was arrived at in a deliberative manner. The judge listened thoroughly to all the defense’s arguments. He also heard directly from the victim’s husband and daughter during a hearing that lasted two days.”

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