SACRAMENTO –A routine roadside inspection conducted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) led to a felony assault conviction for a truck driver who intentionally moved his vehicle and struck a state inspector in the shoulder and chest nearly three years ago.
“CARB’s highly experienced and capable enforcement team performs thousands of inspections annually to ensure compliance with air pollution laws,” said CARB’s Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax. “All regulated parties must submit to an inspection when directed to do so by our inspectors. The outrageous action of this driver could have severely injured our inspector or others in the area as he attempted to avoid the inspection. Drivers should know that every incident like this assault will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and our inspectors will continue to enforce California’s strict policies to help protect public health and clean our air.”
Staff noted that this case was exceptional. Most inspections occur without incident and all inspectors are trained to be courteous and nonconfrontational.
The incident occurred on April 25, 2016, in Hesperia, San Bernardino County, at a Pilot Truck Stop off of Highway 395. Two CARB inspectors spotted an older model red Peterbilt truck and observed that it did not have a diesel particulate filter, which is required for older vehicles under the state’s Truck and Bus Regulation to reduce harmful diesel emissions. The inspectors identified themselves to the driver, who was working on the engine, and asked to inspect the truck. When it became apparent the driver was not cooperating and was about to leave, one inspector went in front of the truck to photograph the license plate. The driver then started the truck, revved the engine and jumped the large vehicle forward, hitting the inspector in the shoulder and chest as he was attempting to move out of the way.
The California Highway Patrol, with officers on site, pulled the truck over and CARB inspectors were able to complete the inspection. CARB inspectors cited the driver, Bhupinder Singhbal, for failing to have a diesel particulate filter and for labeling violations. He was later charged by the San Bernardino District Attorney with assault with a deadly weapon under Penal Code section 245. Singhbal plead guilty on February 25 to felony assault and was sentenced to felony probation. If after five months, he successfully meets his requirements, his crime will be reduced to a misdemeanor and the remaining sentence of two years, seven months will be shifted to misdemeanor probation.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.
CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.