Farmington man accused of hitting, killing pedestrian on highway

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Farmington man is facing a vehicular homicide charge for allegedly hitting and killing a pedestrian with his pickup truck in May.

Derrick Halona, 32, is accused of homicide by vehicle (influence of alcohol or drugs), a second-degree felony, and a misdemeanor count of driving while his license was revoked, according to court documents.

His driver's license had been revoked related to DWI, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Court records show Halona had been charged with DWI in 2013 and in 2015.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Jayme Harcrow said Halona came to the office in Aztec for an interview on Oct. 14 and was served the arrest warrant at about 1:20 p.m.

He was taken into custody and booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center, Harcrow said.

A patrol deputy was dispatched around 2 a.m. on May 24 to the area of the 105 mile marker on New Mexico Highway 371 in response to a vehicle collision involving a pickup and a pedestrian, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Derrick Halona

Halona was driving his pickup south on the highway when he struck and killed Joseph Cipriano, who was walking on the shoulder of the southbound lane, the affidavit states.

When deputies spoke to Halona about the incident, he said he thought he hit an animal, but he also saw an arm come up and hit the windshield. He told dispatch that he hit a person with his vehicle.

The affidavit states that a deputy detected an odor of alcohol on Halona's breath.

The deputy examined the road and did not see any marks that indicated Halona made any attempt to brake or swerve to avoid hitting Cipriano.

There were scuff marks on the highway with blood in the direction the body was found, which was approximately 130 feet from the first mark on the road.

A deputy administered the standard field sobriety test to Halona and a warrant was acquired for his blood.

Results from the blood test showed a blood-alcohol content level of 0.10. The legal limit in New Mexico for driving is 0.08.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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