Wednesday, November 14, 2001
The Skamania County Prosecutor's Office has dropped criminal charges against Elieser Barajas, a Bingen man who was charged with vehicular homicide on Aug. 22.
Barajas, 46, was driving on a Forest Service road near Trout Lake when he lost control and struck another vehicle. Carole Talkington, 39, of Husum -- a passenger in Barajas' pickup truck -- was ejected and killed in the accident, which happened on a rainy evening.
Barajas and the occupants of the other vehicle were injured in the collision.
According to Peter Banks, chief criminal deputy for the Skamania County Prosecutor's Office, the lab tests on Barajas showed that he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the wreck.
"He hadn't had anything to drink. The lab test verified he had no alcohol in his system, and no drugs, except caffeine," Banks explained. "The problem we had with the case is his blood work came back negative -- he was not under the influence of anything. Without that, there was no cause to warrant the vehicular homicide filing. There was not even enough to charge him with reckless driving."
Banks said there simply was no evidence to warrant a criminal case against Barajas.
"There was nothing we could move forward with," Banks said. "He apparently lost control coming around a corner in the rain. There is nothing even to show excessive speed."