Former Prosecutor Weighs In On Double Fatal Murder Charges

By Megan Trent
By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

May 30, 2012 Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 9:32 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - If someone is accused of using cocaine and being drunk, and killing two people while behind the wheel of a car, would a jury buy the argument that they’re guilty of murder?

A Fort Wayne criminal case may provide us an answer.

50-year old Corina Hurtado is in trouble with the law, but it could be even worse than she first imagined.

Hurtado was charged with multiple felonies, including Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death, shortly after the fatal crash at Fairfield and Taylor Streets on May 8th.

Last week, the Allen County Prosecutors office added two counts of murder.

Witnesses say they saw Hurtado speed through a red light and collide with a van carrying 79-year old Harold Bebout and his wife.

The man died at the scene, while Starr Bebout died five days later.

Police say Hurtado’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and she had cocaine in her system, when the deadly crash occurred.

We spoke to long-time Adams County Prosecutor Dan Sigler about the case.

He says he never pursued murder charges in a drunk driving death.

I asked him if prosecutors are subject to scrutiny for filing a charge that a defense lawyer might argue is irresponsible.

" The attorney ethical rules in this state prohibit that, and I certainly don't think that's what has happened here. Whether it's unusual or not, if a prosecutor believes there's probable cause that a crime has been committed, they're fully within their rights to charge it,” says Sigler.

He believes Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards spent a lot of time analyzing the evidence and the law before going with two counts of murder.

Richards has declined comment.

The case is still pending.

With murder, you have to prove someone knowingly or intentionally killed another person.

In court documents, the prosecutor alleged Hurtado knew she was so impaired, that there was a good chance of killing someone.

Hurtado made an initial court appearance Wednesday.

Charges were read to her in court.

She was denied bond, and was assigned a hearing June 13th, where it’s expected that her trial date will be established.

In addition to murder charges, 50-year-old Corina Hurtado is charged with two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance, two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more, and one count of failure to stop after an accident resulting in damage to an unattended vehicle.

Police say on the morning of May 8th, Hurtado was driving with a blood alcohol content of .177.

They say tests indicated that she also had benzodiazepines and cocaine in her system.

According to court documents just released Friday, Hurtado first went to Straley's Auto Sales off Broadway that morning, trying to sell plastic plates. When they turned her down, witnesses say she backed into a customer's empty car.

Witnesses say they tried to ask Hurtado for her insurance information, but she said she didn't have insurance. One of the witnesses also tried to prevent Hurtado from leaving by standing in front of her vehicle, but witnesses say Hurtado swerved around him and peeled out onto Broadway.

Around 9:15 a.m., witnesses say they saw Hurtado speed through a red light and cause the crash.

Police say Hurtado kept saying, "He's going to kill me," and later explained that she meant her husband or fiance, who was upset that she wasn't home.

Hurtado also allegedly told police that her steering column wasn't working correctly.

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