The Dona Ana Sheriff’s deputy who was driving 114 mph when she hit and killed a pedestrian on April 1 will not be charged with vehicular homicide.
New Mexico State Police (NMSP) filed a criminal complaint charging deputy Eden Terrazas with multiple offenses, including vehicular homicide, in the accident that happened at about 8 p.m. April 1 in Mesquite, New Mexico.
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.
An official with the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office said proof to support that charge is not present in this case and District Attorney Mark D'Antonio determined Terrazas will be prosecuted for lesser included offenses.
"I have personally met with Ms. Nunez's family and offered my heartfelt condolences regarding the tragic and regrettable accident,” D’Antonio said in a statement. “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."
Terrazas had been with the department for less than six months when the accident occurred.
Investigators say Terrazas was going 114 mph on State Road 192 in response to an Amber alert for a child kidnapping (or endangerment) suspect on Interstate 10. She veered off the road and hit 44-year-old Natividad Nunez.
Nunez died at the scene.