ActivePaper Archive Teen charged in friend’s fatal car fall - Hobbs News Sun, 9/11/2019

Teen charged in friend’s fatal car fall

Hobbs girl, 17, dies after being thrown from car in parking lot





A 17-year-old Hobbs girl has been arrested on a charge of homicide by vehicle after a teenage friend was thrown off her car last week.

Police said the incident occurred the night of Sept. 3 in the parking lot of a Hobbs restaurant when a 17-year-old Hobbs girl was thrown off the hood of a moving car and suffered fatal head injuries. Witnesses said the victim pleaded for the driver to stop.

Misty Nicole Tobias, 17, a senior at Hobbs High School, was ultimately taken to a hospital in Lubbock, where she was pronounced dead Thursday.

Reanna Nicole Shearer-Natividad, 17, also a senior at Hobbs High School, was arrested on a warrant Monday and charged with homicide by vehicle, great bodily harm; a third-degree felony. According to charging documents, Shearer-Natividad has a prior conviction of DWI.

The homicide by vehicle charge was filed in Fifth Judicial District Children’s Court in Lovington.

According to witnesses, Shearer-Natividad drove erratically in the restaurant parking lot while Tobias was on the hood of the car, clutching open window frames and pleading for Shearer-Natividad to stop. Witnesses said Tobias was finally thrown off the car when Shearer-Natividad slammed on the brakes, striking her head on the pavement.

Police said Shearer-Natividad told others that Tobias fell off after the car had been stopped. Police also said the accident was under-reported to 911, resulting in a delay of first responders to the scene.

According to her death notice and pending obituary published in the Hobbs News-Sun, Tobias was born in Killeen, Texas, and would have been 18 years old next month. Her visitation will be Friday at Chapel of Hope Funeral Home in Hobbs, with her funeral service Saturday morning at Chooselife Church in Hobbs.

Police investigation

According to the criminal complaint, a Hobbs Police Department detective went to Lea Regional Medical Center after Tobias was taken to the hospital by ambulance with a life-threatening head injury resulting from riding on the hood of the car.

The incident occurred at about 10:29 p.m. Sept. 3 in the parking lot of the restaurant in the 3600 block of North West County Road.

An 18-year-old witness told police she had just gotten off work and was showing off her new car to her co-workers when Shearer-Natividad pulled up in her car. The witness said Tobias then got on the hood of Shearer-Natividad’s car.

“She said Reanna first was driving slow while Misty was lying face down on the hood of the car, but then accelerated,” the witness told police. “She said Misty was grabbing on from the sides of the vehicle.”

The witness said Shearer-Natividad drove around corners with Tobias still on the hood.

“She told me when Reanna turned the last corner, she turned hard, then slammed on her brakes,” the Hobbs police detective wrote in the criminal complaint. “(The witness) said Misty flew off and she heard her head hit hard. She said she landed in a supine position.”

The witness said Tobias wasn’t moving after the fall, so she ran and got the restaurant manager.

The witness, who estimated Shearer-Natividad was driving about 10 mph, told police Tobias pleaded for Shearer-Natividad to stop.

“(The witness) said before Misty flew off, she was yelling at Reanna to stop.”

The witness also said Shearer-Natividad was misleading people about what had occurred.

“(The witness) told me Reanna had said that she stopped the vehicle, then Misty fell off when she was getting off the hood, but she knew Misty had flown off,” states the criminal complaint. “She said this caused the impact on her head. She said Reanna was also saying that Misty stood up after falling, but (the witness) said she never saw Misty get up. She said she was on the ground the entire time.”

The Hobbs detective also interviewed another 18-year-old witness, who said Shearer-Natividad didn’t fully stop the car until Tobias had already been thrown off.

“He said Reanna came and Misty said to let her get on the hood of the car,” states the criminal complaint. “He said Reanna was driving fast around the parking lot making sharp turns. He said Misty was face down on the hood of the vehicle grabbing on by windows that were rolled down. He told me Misty was yelling for Reanna to stop and he assumed that she was losing her grip. (The witness) said when Reanna made a turn, Misty lost her grip on the right side and her body flew to one side of the vehicle.”

The witness estimated Shearer-Natividad was driving 30 mph when the accident occurred. He said Tobias first hit her buttocks, then her head. He said Tobias’ eyes were open and she was taking deep breaths, although she never got up.

The witness also said Shearer-Natividad was not telling the truth about what had happened.

“(The witness) said Reanna was saying that Misty woke up but he never saw that or heard her say anything,” states the criminal complaint. “He said Reanna had said when she was braking, Misty was trying to get off the hood, but he believed if that was the case, she would only have a mild concussion. (The witness) said Reanna was saying Misty fell when the vehicle was stopped and that was not true.”

The detective also interviewed a 17-year-old girl who was inside the restaurant when the incident occurred, but came out shortly later.

“(The witness) said it looked bad,” states the criminal complaint. “She told me there was no way Misty had been up after falling.”

The detective also interviewed the restaurant manager, who did not witness the accident, but said that she was hearing conflicting stories.

The manager said she saw Tobias unconscious, breathing hard, bleeding from her nose, her body stiff and her eyes low. The manager told police three people said Tobias flew off the car, while Shearer-Natividad said she got off.

“(The manager) told me that Reanna told her that she was stopping and Misty stumbled on something, then fell,” states the criminal complaint. “She said Misty’s glasses were far from her body so that suggested something different. She said things weren’t adding up to her.”

No surveillance video

The manager told police there was surveillance video, but not of the outside of the restaurant. Police said none of the witnesses had cellphone video of the incident.

Police said Shearer-Natividad declined to be interviewed at the hospital after consulting with her mother, who works for the Law Offices of the Public Defender. However, police said Shearer-Natividad initially admitted she was the driver of the car and that Tobias was riding on top its roof.

Police said Shearer-Natividad reported the incident to 911, but didn’t provide crucial information.

“It had only been said that someone had fallen and hit their head,” states the criminal complaint. “It was only a medical call at that time. Officer Ramirez told me that the ambulance had a delayed response due to this. He said once Medic No. 4 arrived on scene and realized the severity of Misty’s injuries, they called for law enforcement to respond to (Lea Regional Medical Center).”

According to the 911 call, Shearer-Natividad said her friend had fallen and hit her head.

“Crying can be heard in the background,” states the criminal complaint. “The girl tells the 911 dispatcher the patient is 17 years old. The dispatcher asks if the patient is conscious and breathing. The girl responds ‘Yea she’s breathing. Her eyes are open.’ The dispatcher asks if the patient is conscious and breathing. The dispatcher asks if the patient is responsive to questions and the girl says ‘No.’ The girl asks where the ambulance is. The dispatcher tells the girl to stay on the line until the ambulance arrives.”

Police said the entire call lasted 6 minutes, 18 seconds, until the ambulance arrived.

Police said a LRMC doctor said Tobias had a brain bleed and her pupils were dilated, indicating a head injury, while she was bleeding from her nose and ears.

Tobias was stabilized and taken to a hospital in Lubbock.

Police said they called the hospital several times on Sept. 4 to get medical updates. Police said Tobias was initially in critical condition, and was placed on 24-hour life support to give family time to come see her.

Tobias was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m. Thursday.

Hobbs Police Chief John Ortolano said it’s never safe to ride atop or outside a vehicle.

“Anyone who rides on top of a car exposes themselves to extreme risks for being seriously injured or killed,” Ortolano said. “Even extremely low speed impacts with concrete or asphalt can result in fatal injuries.”

Ortolano, a 21-year veteran of the Arizona State Police who started as the 25th police chief of Hobbs last week, said sitting atop a motorcycle can be dangerous.

“As a Trooper, I once investigated a fatal incident where a stopped motorcyclist lost his balance causing the motorcycle with him on it to fall over,” the police chief said. “His head struck the pavement causing fatal injuries. In that incident a helmet would’ve most likely saved his life.”

Ortolano said during his career, he’s been to several scenes where a person decided to ride on the hood or roof of a vehicle.

“Some of these were done as a joke or for fun while others were more of a road rage incident,” Ortolano said. “I would just ask your readers to think about the possible outcomes of being an external passenger on a vehicle. Most everyone has fallen down at some point in their life and have learned a life lesson from what led to that event.

“Please don’t take risks which can endanger yourself or others. And please remember to always use your seatbelt, no matter where you’re sitting in a vehicle! Adults, please set the example for children regarding the wearing of seatbelts.”