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Man inhaled compressed air before fatal crash

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FARMINGTON — A man convicted of killing an elderly Farmington woman by hitting her with his vehicle got the maximum sentence for his conviction.

Myles White, 24, was sentenced to six years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections during a June 16 hearing in front of Chief District Court Judge Karen Townsend in Aztec District Court, according to court documents.

White had pleaded no contest to a third-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle on Feb. 24, as part of a plea agreement.

He was convicted of killing 76-year-old Theresa Morris on May 24, 2018, by hitting her with a Chevy passenger car in the 700 block of West Apache Street. White admitted to inhaling from a can of pressurized air in the Walmart parking lot at 1400 W. Main St. before driving.

White was driving eastbound on West Apache Street when he left the roadway, struck Morris while she was in her front yard and then drove through a brick fence.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office provided a statement to The Daily Times from Sondra Frank, a daughter of Morris.

"It's good to see him finally have to face prison time for such a horrific act. It gives us some peace but nothing will ever bring our mother back," Sondra Frank said.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien told The Daily Times while White got the maximum sentence, a reckless driving homicide conviction carries an inadequate sentence for a loss of life.

Eric Morrow, White's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

The plea agreement led to the dismissal of a second-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle (DWI) and petty misdemeanor counts of failure to maintain safe lane and driving without a license.

While White was charged with the second-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle (DWI), it would have been difficult to prove a substance in the compressed air would constitute a drug.

O'Brien said the chemicals in a can of compressed air are not narcotics in state statute.

White's conviction is listed as a violent felony, so he is required to serve about 85 percent of his prison sentence.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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