19 Oct 2023
Distracted driving may have been the root cause of a crash that killed two people in November. According to the Pima County Attorney’s Office, however, that person will not be charged due to a lack of evidence in the case.
NBC affiliate, KVOA in Tucson, reports that on Wednesday, November 12th, 2019, 21-year-old Caitlin Festerling and 22-year-old Paul Garcia were traveling northbound on Shanon Road in Oro Valley when a Buick Le Sabre rear-ended them. The impact forced their Accura Integra into the oncoming path of a GMC Sierra, which was traveling southbound, causing a head-on collision. Both Festerling and Garcia were pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Buick suffered non-life-threatening injuries and refused treatment.
“Family members, friends, and indeed our entire community grieve over this terrible, heartbreaking tragedy in which two lives were lost. Unfortunately, the County Attorney’s Office is unable to move forward at this time with a prosecution,” the Chief Deputy County Attorney said in a statement to reporters.
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The County Attorney’s Office representative went on to say that even after months of working with investigators with the Oro Valley Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, specialized crime investigators, and accident reconstructionists, the evidence was insufficient to proceed with prosecuting the case.
Evidence presented to a homicide panel comprised of the Pima County Attorney and other legal experts included physical evidence gathered from the scene of the crash, statements, and depositions from witnesses, cellphone and text records, cell tower records and reconstructions were presented. The panel was reported to have met twice, and yet there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other driver was responsible for the fatal crash.
Both families have been left devastated that the person responsible for the death of their loved ones will not be charged in the case.