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Woman fined $1,000 for killing man and his son

Cynthia Guthrie cited for careless driving

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – A driver who caused a crash that killed a man and his young son has been cited and fined $1,000 in connection with the incident, the Altamonte Springs Police Department said Friday.

Cynthia Guthrie was fined $1,000 fine and had her driver's license revoked for a year during a hearing Friday. The revocation will be reviewed after a year.

The accident was reported last October at State Roads 434 and 436 in Altamonte Springs.

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.

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

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

State Attorney Phil Archer's office delivered a letter to the Altamonte Springs Police Department explaining his decision not to press charges against Guthrie.

According to the letter, Guthrie claimed that she had suffered a fall before the crash, but she did not say whether that caused her not 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."

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 that she is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Guthrie.

"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."