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Woman, 75, won't be charged in fatal Altamonte Springs crash, officials say

Father, 1-year-old son killed in October 2015 crash

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The State Attorney's Office said on Thursday it has determined that the driver in an Altamonte Springs crash that killed a father and his son will not be charged.

[RELATED: Family ID'd in fatal Altamonte crash | PICSFamily involved in crash]

Altamonte Springs police said Cynthia Guthrie, 75, was behind the wheel of a green Crown Victoria when she failed to brake and crashed into a gold Kia, causing the car to crash into others in October 2015 at State Road 434 and State Road 436.  

Jose L. Vargas, 35, and 1-year-old Brayden O. Vargas were killed in the crash. Their wife and mother, Ivelisse Martinez, 27, survived the crash and was recovering at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The family believes Vargas and Martinez were out buying shoes for the baby when they were involved in the chain-reaction crash.

Thursday, the State Attorney Phil Archer's office delivered a letter to the Altamonte Springs Police Department outlining their decision not to press charges against Guthrie.

According to their letter, Guthrie claimed she had suffered a fall before the crash, but she did not say whether that may have caused her not to press the brake at the intersection.

Because of that, prosecutors said they were unable to obtain a warrant for her medical records.

"It blows my mind that something like this can happen and someone just gets a traffic fine," said Griselle Zeno, Vargas' sister.  "That's all there is."

In the end, investigators said there wasn't enough evidence to get a criminal conviction.

"Here, there is no evidence that the driver operated her vehicle with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others," the state attorney wrote in his letter to police investigators.  "There is no evidence that she operated her vehicle with a gross and flagrant character evincing reckless disregard for human life.

Zeno told News 6 she is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Guthrie to get more answers.

"It's not about going to jail or not," Zeno said. "I feel somehow a little compassion for this person. She's 75, she's a retired schoolteacher. I somehow feel a little bit of compassion, but when I was told nothing was going to happen, just a traffic fine, that blows my mind."
 


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