Could texting while driving have caused a fatal Hwy. 70 crash?
Las Cruces police checking cellphone records in double fatal crash
It's been nearly two months since Keian Padilla, 15, and his 35-year-old mother, Marcia Parra, were killed in a crash on Highway 70 in Las Cruces.
Police are still searching for answers; some of those answers could be inside the cellphone of the driver who police say caused the crash.
A week after the crash, the Las Cruces Police Department filed a search warrant for the cellphone records of Shauna Halladay, 22.
LCPD spokesman Dan Trujillo told ABC-7 it's just standard procedure.
On Halloween morning, police said Halladay was driving an SUV on Highway 70 when she crossed the median for some reason.
According to a search warrant filed on Nov. 7, an officer at the scene found Halladay's iPhone in her car.
The officer wrote when he turned on the phone, it revealed a text message screen "which indicated that the phone user was about to send a text message." The officer also wrote there was a 'z' next to the cursor in the text field.
Police also received a crime stoppers tip that a witness saw Halladay using her phone while driving just before the crash, according to the warrant.
"There aren't any criminal charges that have been filed and I don't anticipate that any will be filed based on what I know," Halladay's lawyer, Mark Pickett, told ABC-7.
According to the document, during an interview at University Medical Center in El Paso, Halladay told police a car in the outside lane veered into her lane which caused her to drive off the road.
The search warrant shows Halladay's car ramped into the air and hit a four-door sedan, shearing off the top and killing the mother and son who were inside.
The document also reveals police found a prescription drug bottle in the SUV with Halladay's name on it. Police also requested an inspection of the SUV.
"That's something that happens in any crash of this magnitude, we'll request cellphone records. There'll be toxicology results or tests requested," Trujillo said.
Pickett describes Halladay as a working mother now suffering with what happened.
"I think she's just now been released to go back to work so she's on her way to recovering. Of course, mentally, it's not easy after the severity of the crash, but she's getting there," Pickett said.
The District Attorney's Office will make the final decision as to whether or not criminal charges will be filed. They told ABC-7 they are waiting on a few more answers, but they are very close to making a decision.
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