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Update: DA may prosecute fatal Hwy. 70 crash after all

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Feb 07 2013 10:27:50 AM CST
Updated On: Jun 14 2014 12:45:55 PM CDT

District Attorney Mark D'Antonio say no criminal charges will be filed against the driver blamed for the crash that killed a local mother and her teen son.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

02/08 Update:

ABC-7 received a text message from District Attorney Mark D'Antonio's spokeswoman saying the DA has changed his mind on not pressing criminal charges against the woman who caused a Highway 70 crash that killed a mother and son in October.

The message read, "In light of recently revealed evidence, the district attorney's office is reconsidering prosecutorial options."

She did not give any details on what the new evidence is. She said the DA's office is preparing another statement on the matter for later today.

Original Story:

Third Judicial District Attorney Mark D'Antonio told ABC-7 no criminal charges will be filed against a woman who caused a crash that killed a mother and son in October.

In December, Las Cruces police were searching through the cell phone records of Shauna Halladay, 22. In a report, one officer wrote he found an unfinished text message open on her phone at the scene of the crash.

D'Antonio said the final evidence did not support that.

"If it's a situation where someone was texting and we can prove that with confident evidence then that's a different story," he said.

D'Antontio said the thorough investigation into the crash did not turn up any strong evidence of criminal negligence.

"The evidence showed us that the driver of the vehicle was not texting or there's no proof to show she was texting or otherwise using the phone just before or during the accident. If we can't determine the exact reason or we can't put a negligence factor in there or some sort of aggravating factor, then it's just a horrendous sad accident," he said.

On Halloween morning, police said Halladay was driving on Highway 70 in Las Cruces. For some reason, her SUV veered over the median and vaulted into the air. According to police, her car sheared off the roof of an oncoming car, killing Marcia Parra and her son, Keian Padilla, who were inside.

"When I heard the news it's horrific when a mother and son dies and the father comes to my office and sit down and I talk to him. And he said my wife and my son are gone. I have a son. I'm filled with terrible emotions and empathy for this poor man who just suffered a tragedy that I don't even want to think about," D'Antonio said.

He said although his office is not filing criminal charges, the family of the victims can still file a civil lawsuit against Halladay.

"Sometimes a person just makes the wrong move and causes horrific damage. That's a civil issue, not a criminal issue, and I want the people to understand I cannot decide issues on my emotion no matter how strongly I feel about it," D'Antonio said.

Halladay could still face penalties from traffic citations.

The Department of Transportation hopes to prevent future crashes similar to this one by installing cable barriers in the median on Highway 70. That construction began last weekend.

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