First degree murder charge added to DWI case

By Belle Nelson and Moses Leos III

A Buda realtor indicted in January on an intoxication manslaughter charge now faces an additional charge of first-degree murder.  

The Hays County Grand Jury on Oct. 22 filed an indictment for murder and second degree intoxication manslaughter against Jason Floyd Tarr, 38, in the 274th District Court of Hays County. 

An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but is a formal accusation that suggests enough evidence exists to warrant a trial. 

The indictment comes after Tarr was previously indicted for intoxication manslaughter in the death of Nancy Sterling Dalton on Sept. 29, 2014. 

Dalton was killed after Tarr, who was driving a 2009 Ford F-150, collided head-on with Dalton’s 2006 Chrysler Sebring Convertible on the bridge at Lewis Lane and Eagle Nest along FM 1626. 

Dalton, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene. Tarr was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and was later released to authorities.

The Hays Free Press reported in February that a DPS trooper who met with Tarr at University Medical Brackenridge in Austin said he described the suspect as having a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Tarr’s breath.” 

That information was part of a Sept. 29 court affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Tarr. 

The trooper also added in the affidavit that Tarr failed a horizontal gaze nystagimus (involuntary eye movement) test. 

The trooper placed Tarr under arrest, and obtained a search warrant for a specimen of Tarr’s blood. According to that affidavit, Tarr tried to flee the hospital, but was restrained. 

Tarr was released from the Hays County Jail on October 3, 2014 on a $150,000 bond. 

Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said in an emailed response Tarr would have to post a new bond for the updated charge. 

Mau said records showed on Monday Tarr posted the new bond.  

According to documents filed within the indictment, an order on condition of bond is that Tarr is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle unless it’s equipped with a “deep-lung alcohol ignition interlock device” with a camera.  

Mau said he couldn’t comment on the investigation in relation to any internal decision-making processes. 

“Given the nature of the case and the fact that the charges will likely be tried in a single trial, Tarr’s effective punishment range is from 3 to 99 years or life, and a fine up to $10,000, depending on the findings by the jury.” 

According to the indictment filed against Tarr, on the count of murder, the defendant “did use a deadly weapon, to wit: an automobile or truck, that in the matter of its or intended use was capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.”

Prior to the September 2014 arrest, Tarr was previously charged twice for driving while intoxicated (DWI).

The first time occurred in 2002 with a second time in 2005 in Hays County.

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