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DIGGING DEEPER: Two families left devastated after deadly distracted driving crash

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ORO VALLEY, Ariz. - A crash that took the lives of a young couple last November in Oro Valley left two families devastated.  

Six months later they are in total disbelief.

The Digging Deeper Team was the first to report the crash that killed Caitlin Festerling and Paul Garcia may have been the result of distracted driving.

Recently, the families met with the Pima County Attorney's Office. They say they are still in shock over what they heard.

 "The County Attorney said the driver lied to them about deleting text messages. They know she changed her story a couple times. They know she texted and that she responded to texts," Julie Festerling told News 4 Tucson. 

The mothers of the two victims wanted to know why didn't the County Attorney's Office hold the driver responsible for their actions?

Amelia Cramer is the Chief Deputy County Attorney. She sent News 4 Tucson a statement that read in part:

"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 office said they "lack sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."

Deborah Garcia is Paul's mother. This is the first interview she's given since her son was killed.

"I can't fathom where a person can cause this type of accident and walk away with nothing," she said.

The statement from the County Attorney's office goes on to say:

"Law enforcement officers and detectives from the Oro Valley Police Department, as well as specialized crime analysts and prosecutors from the County Attorney's Office, spent months gathering and reviewing all available evidence relating to the crash, including: physical evidence at the crime scene, photographs, witness statements, phone call and text records, cell tower records, timeline reconstructions, and more."

The evidence was presented to a homicide panel that consisted of Pima County Attorney, Barbara LaWall, Amelia Cramer, and others. The panel met twice.

Oro Valley Police said they gave the County Attorney's Office everything they asked for.

According to the statement: 

"Unfortunately, however, all the evidence obtained to date fails to provide us with evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that [The driver] was actually texting at the time of the crash."

In the meantime, Deborah Garcia said she relives the collision every day when she goes home.  

"This is where my son was killed. I drove up on the accident 20 minutes after it happened." Garcia said.

To hear that the person who caused the crash won't be prosecuted is heartbreaking and very disappointing for both families.

While the County Attorney has declined to issue criminal charges at this time, Amelia Cramer did tell News 4 Tucson, if they are able to obtain additional evidence to prove a criminal case, they will seen an indictment and prosecute.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

Paul Birmingham

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