Vehicular Homicide Charges Not Permitted In Case Against Deputy
On April 2, 2014 at approximately 8:00 P.M., Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call for assistance related to an Amber alert for a child kidnapping (or endangerment) suspect on Interstate Highway 10. While responding to the Amber alert and traveling on State Road 192, one of the Deputies was involved in a tragic accident which resulted in the death of pedestrian Natividad Nunez.
Following the accident, New Mexico State Police (NMSP) filed a Criminal Complaint charging the Deputy involved in the accident with multiple offenses. The case was then presented to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration. 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. After thoroughly investigating the circumstances and evaluating the law surrounding the tragic event, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio determined that the Deputy involved in the April 1, 2014 accident 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.”
Information from: Dona Ana County District Attorney's Office