Vehicular Homicide charge dropped in drunk driving crash that killed a teen

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE)- A deep wound for a Los Lunas family was reopened Thursday.

“Merry Christmas to us, huh?” said Victoria Woolley.

Among holiday decorations and a crackling fire, the Woolley family sits in anguish.

“Sixteen…sixteen years old,” said Victoria Woolley.

Her son Tanner Woolley was killed in 2014 while riding his motorcycle in Belen.  He was hit by Dejohni Orndoff-Madrid. Police said she was drunk.

“This girl is a repeat, repeat offender. She has so many cases,” said Woolley.

Inside a Los Lunas courtroom on Thursday, three years after that deadly crash, Madrid got off easy.

“She pleaded guilty to the aggravated DWI and the careless driving… that killed my son,” said Woolley.

The charge for homicide by vehicle, which carries up to six years, was dropped.

“Still, till right now, it’s incredibly unbelievable,” said the teen’s devastated mom.

They could not explain why, but a week ago, Madrid’s attorney’s filed a motion saying the state’s testimony from a substitute OMI expert, was hearsay.

They said it was unconstitutional if the defense can not question the doctor who actually put together the autopsy report and decided on the cause of death.

It was Dr. Sam Andrews who performed the autopsy, but he no longer works for UNM’s OMI. A spokesperson for UNM’s Health Science’s Center said Andrews left UNM in May 2015.

“It’s ridiculous to dismiss this charge,” said Woolley’s brother Timothy Yost.

Dr. Andrews just made news in Texas, after a judge slammed him and dismissed a murder charge because of his unreliable testimony.

“The state has failed us time and time again.We have waited three years for this trial… they failed us at the trial,” said Yost.

Now, the family fears someone else will be burdened by the same tragedy they face, every day.

“Keep your family close, because you just put a killer out on the road,” said Woolley.

It is still unknown if the defense’s motion was the cause of the dismissal of the vehicular homicide charge. Several calls to the defense attorney, prosecutor, the Valencia County District Attorney, and the Judge, were not returned with the reasoning.

New 13 reached out to UNM’s Health Sciences Center, regarding substitute OMI experts, a spokesperson provided the following statement:

“The Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) has a standard process to provide a substitute board-certified forensic pathologist for the criminal justice system when the original case pathologist is deceased or is no longer employed by the office. This pathologist independently reviews the case materials and forms his or her own conclusions.  We followed that process and provided a fully qualified forensic pathologist to testify and assist the criminal justice system in this case.”

If you’d like to follow updates from the family, you can visit their Facebook page for Tanner Woolley here.

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