Vehicular homicide charge against DACSO Deputy 'not an option'

MGN Online
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 1:21pm

Natividad Nunez was walking along State Road 192 in Mesquite, NM at approximately 8:00 pm on Tuesday, April 1 when she was hit by a driver who was allegedly driving 114 MPH along the quiet stretch of road. Nunez was pronounced dead at the scene.

When New Mexico State Police arrived to the scene, they realized that Dona Ana County Sheriff's Deputy Eden Terrazas, who was on duty at the time of the crash, was the driver of the speeding car that hit and killed Nunez.

New Mexico State Police say that Terrazas was responding to a call for assistance related to an Amber alert for a child kidnapping suspect on I-10. While en route to the call, Terrazas struck and killed Nunez along State Road 192.

Following the investigation into the incident, the New Mexico State Police filed a Criminal Complaint charging Terrazas with multiple offenses, including Vehicular Homicide. The case was then presented to the Dona Ana County District Attorney's Office for consideration.

Friday, Dona Ana District Attorney Mark D'Antonio released his findings, saying that vehicular homicide charge against Terrazas is 'not an option.'

New Mexico law requires proof of intentional disregard for the safety of others to charge Vehicular Homicide. Proof to support that charge is not present in this case according to D'Antonio. After investigating the circumstances and evaluating the law surrounding the event, D'Antonio determined that Terrazas will be prosecuted for lesser included offenses.

District Attorney D’Antonio said: “I have personally met with Ms. Nunez’s family and offered my heartfelt condolences regarding the tragic and regrettable accident. I explained the particular facts in this case do not meet the standards of a homicide offense. However, I commend our State Police for their thorough and competent investigation of this matter. I do not condone or endorse officers responding to police calls at such high rates of speed. In addition, I have asked all law enforcement agencies to review and if needed, update police policies and procedures with regards to pursuit and response protocols.”

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