No Charges in March Parking Lot Fatality

2012-10-05T02:10:00Z 2012-10-05T09:28:57Z No Charges in March Parking Lot FatalityBY LAURIE WELCH - Twin Falls Times-News

BURLEY • Prosecutors will not file charges against a Heyburn man involved in a fatal March crash in a factory parking lot west of Burley.

Cassia County Prosecutor Al Barrus said there will be no charges filed at this time against Daniel Hood, in large part due to a limit in state law on when vehicular manslaughter can be charged.

Hood was driving a pickup truck into the McCain Foods USA plant parking lot March 2 when he crashed head-on into another vehicle, killing the driver, Santiago Maestas, 59, of Albion.

“We’ve decided we can’t file charges at this time unless other information comes in to the office,” said Barrus. “But we’re not closing off that possibility.”

Hood’s pickup landed on top of the cab of Maestas’ truck, crushing Maestas as the two vehicles collided.

Maestas was leaving the parking lot at the plant while Hood was picking up his wife at the end of her shift, according to a report by a Cassia County sheriff’s deputy.

Blood tests showed Hood had alcohol in his system, but he was not over the legal limit to drive, Barrus said.

In order for Barrus’ office to file a valid vehicular manslaughter charge, state law requires the incident to have occurred on a highway, street or bridge or on public or private property open to the public.

The McCain crash occurred past the plant’s guard house, Barrus said. Thus, it was on private property not open to the public, which precludes his office from filing charges.

Hood also allegedly had a seizure after the crash, Barrus said.

“But that’s something our office could have worked through if we would have found a way to press charges,” Barrus said.

Barrus said his office spent months reviewing the case.

“This is a tough case. We really looked hard at it,” he said. “And I feel really sorry for the family.”

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