FLORENCE — The attorneys for a Casa Grande teen accused of manslaughter are trying to get her case remanded back to a grand jury.
Saaron Mendez, 17, is accused of two counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault in connection with a fatal accident on the Ak-Chin Indian Community in May 2020.
Mendez’s attorneys filed a motion in October to remand the case back to a grand jury for a redetermination of probable cause. The attorney stated in the motion that the deputy Pinal County attorney who presented the case to the grand jury did not reveal that law enforcement officers found no evidence of videos, photos, text messages or phone calls on Mendez’s phone near the time of the crash.
Mendez was allegedly driving an extended cab pickup truck at an excessive speed when she lost control and rolled the truck on White and Parker Road, southeast of Maricopa. The crash killed two teens and injured a third who were riding in the truck with Mendez.
The teen who survived the accident told officers that she and the other teens saw Mendez driving while recording video with her phone and told her to put the phone away.
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office has asked the judge to deny the request, stating in its response that it does not have to present all potentially exculpatory evidence to a grand jury. It only has to present “clearly exculpatory” evidence to a grand jury.
The County Attorney’s Office also pointed out that witnesses stated that Mendez was posting video directly to Instagram. The app does not automatically save photos or video to a phone unless a specific setting is selected, the office stated in its response.
The judge in the case has yet to rule on the motion.