City attorney Michael Halla has been arrested and charged with two counts of manslaughter following a fatal car accident that occurred in Ferris, Texas in November 2021. Fox 4 reports the accident, which involved a father and son, the Beltrans, who were struck and killed while walking home from playing basketball. Ferris City Manager Brooks Williams announced that the city has decided to suspend its contract with Halla, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.
According to documents obtained from a search warrant, Halla was driving at a dangerous speed of 102 miles per hour just seconds before the accident occurred. He was also in possession of a cell phone at the time of the crash. Fox 4 reports the Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation and filed multiple search warrants.
Despite Halla's arrest, City Manager Brooks Williams told Fox 4 that "We do believe there is a difference between being charged and guilty," and that the city believes that suspending its contract with Halla indefinitely is the appropriate action to take while the legal process unfolds.
The city of Ferris has faced criticism on social media for the length of time it took for charges to be filed and an arrest to be made. However, Williams defended the city's actions, stating that the investigation was conducted properly and that the city removed itself from the investigation to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. It appears that neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in the accident, but high speed and phone distraction were.
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