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Ferris City Council severs ties with city attorney after deadly crash

By Shaun Rabb - Published January 9, 2023 4:47PM - Dallas County - FOX 4

FERRIS, Texas - There is new information in the deadly crash that killed a father and son in 2021.

Michael Halla was arrested and charged late last week with two counts of manslaughter from an auto-pedestrian accident that happened in Ferris in 2021 fourteen months ago.

Halla contracted with Ferris and other smaller communities to do city attorney work

Halla hasn’t been indicted, but Ferris has made the decision to for now sever its business relationship with him.

"You've got our citizens that are directly impacted, but we believed that with him being charged it was the right decision to suspend services pending the outcome of this legal process," said Ferris City Manager Brooks Williams.

In a special called meeting, Ferris City Council unanimously agreed to indefinitely suspend its contract with Halla, who served in the capacity as city attorney, Halla was arrested and charged with two counts of manslaughter for hitting and killing father and son, Edward and Ethan Beltran in November 2021.

The Beltran family was walking home from playing basketball at a school across FM 664 from their neighborhood.

"I was one of the first on scene for the accident itself. It was tragic," Williams said. "The family's lives will never be the same, and we're sorry or them beyond that. I made a decision as the city manager along with our police chief at that time that we would not investigate that accident.

The Department of Public Safety took over the investigation, filing multiple search warrants.

Pages of documents reveal that the accident happened at 6:05 p.m. in Nov. 2021.

Halla was late for the 6 p.m. Ferris City Council meeting.

Information from search warrants shows Halla was driving at a dangerously high speed of 102 miles per hour 4.8 seconds before the incident His 2020 Explorer was traveling 93 miles per hour at the time of impact. Documents say Halla was in possession of a cell phone when the crash happened.

Halla was arrested last week, posting bond on the two counts of manslaughter. He has not been indicted.

"We do believe there is a difference between being charged and guilty," Williams said. "And so rather than completely sever all ties forever, we believed suspending indefinitely was the right thing to allow the legal process to take place."

Ferris has been criticized on social media because of how long it's taken from the accident to charges and arrest.

"I would actually challenge that and say this is proof of a transparent government that's doing the right thing," Williams said. "It took fourteen months because an investigation was done properly and further it was done properly because we removed ourselves from that investigation."

Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in this horrible accident, but high speed and being distracted with a cell phone seem to play a part in this sad, sad story.

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