On Thursday, the leading prosecutor in Phoenix announced that her office would not proceed with prosecuting a motorist who had been involved in a collision with a group of bicyclists, resulting in the death of two riders.
Rachel Mitchell, the Maricopa County Attorney said that there wasn’t sufficient proof to guarantee a criminal conviction. She will be forwarding the case to the prosecutors in Goodyear instead.
County Attorney Mitchell said, “The crash Quintana-Lujan caused was horrific. He took away lives and left so many more people badly injured and deeply traumatized.”
She continued, “A team of top attorneys in my office spent months on an extensive review of the evidence in this case. Before we take any matter to court, including this one, we must determine whether the evidence supports a reasonable likelihood of conviction. We found that the evidence in this case is not sufficient to obtain a felony conviction. Yet, I am not willing to let this drop. I made the decision to refer the case to the Goodyear City Prosecutor so they may evaluate the case and make their own charging decisions.”
On Feb. 25, the Goodyear police reported that Pedro Quintana-Lujan, aged 26, had been driving a pickup truck with a trailer in tow when it crashed into a group of cyclists on the Cotton Lane Bridge. This bridge is a heavily trafficked highway in Goodyear, which is situated roughly 19 miles to the west of Phoenix.
The grim outcome of the cycling group’s excursion that day resulted in the death of one participant on the spot and the death of another later at a hospital. Most of the 20 individuals were injured.
Quintana-Lujan remained at the accident site and informed the officers that the steering wheel had jammed.
He was initially arrested and detained in jail on the grounds of two counts of manslaughter and multiple other charges.
Upon examining the facts, county prosecutors concluded that Quintana-Lujan had not been driving too fast or under the influence. Although, trace amounts of THC were detected in his system. He admitted to authorities that he had smoked marijuana the preceding evening.