NTSB Posts Its File on North Las Vegas Crash That Killed 9
By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, January 27, 2023 8:56 am
RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – Federal accident investigators have released reports and investigation materials from a multi-vehicle disaster in North Las Vegas a year ago that killed a driver and his passenger in a fast sports car and seven family members in a minivan.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the incident has yielded no conclusions or recommendations. A board member said in January 2022 that it may investigate into speed-limiting technology in vehicles such as high-performance sports cars.
“The NTSB continues to collect data,” the board said in a section of approximately 300 pages of so-called docket items posted Thursday.
“All aspects of the collision remain under investigation while the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes,” it said.
A board spokesperson, Sarah Sulick, described the posting as the next stage before releasing the final report, which may take months.
On Sunday, a 32-year-old woman who was badly injured in the incident planned to attend a memorial tree planting at a regional park in North Las Vegas with community members and traffic safety activists.
Tiffany May Noel did not immediately reply to queries from The Associated Press on Thursday.
May Noel consented to attend the event after undergoing three surgeries and “countless hours” of physical therapy to recuperate from injuries, according to Erin Breen, head of a traffic safety office at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“Ms. May Noel is determined to appeal to others to change dangerous driving behaviors,” Breen said in a statement about the Sunday ceremony.
The collision killed the driver, Jose Zacarias-Caldera, 35, and passengers David Mejia-Barrera, 25, Gabriel Mejia-Barrera, 23, Bryan Axel Zacarias, 15, Lluvia Daylenn Zacarias, 13, Adrian Zacarias, 10, and Fernando Yeshua Mejia, 5.
They were in a 2013 Toyota Sienna van when it was hit broadside by a 2018 Dodge Challenger, which police and the NTSB say sped to 103 mph (166 kph) when it ran a red light, triggering the tragedy.
The Challenger’s driver, Gary Dean Robinson, 59, and a passenger, Tanaga Ravel Miller, 46, were both killed in the collision. Both males were residents of North Las Vegas.
Robinson had intoxication quantities of cocaine and PCP in his system at the time of the mid-afternoon crash, according to police and the Clark County coroner.
Robinson had a history of speeding, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license charges and convictions in Indiana dating back to 1984, according to the NTSB. It stated that his Nevada license was suspended from December 2017 to January 2020 due to failure to pay penalties and expenses.
“NTSB investigators located evidence that the driver had received additional traffic citations that were not yet documented on his record,” the board said, including guilty pleas to separate speeding tickets in December 2021 in North Las Vegas and Las Vegas municipal courts.
According to court records, Robinson also served time in Nevada state prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to felony cocaine possession and breaching the conditions of his probation, and had a 2009 misdemeanor conviction for violence on a courtroom bailiff.
Four other vehicles were also involved in the incident, although no one was known to have been hurt in them.
Breen said she saw in the more than 300 pages of material posted by the NTSB a reminder “of what happens when people choose to disregard laws about traffic safety.”
“How can you be that impaired by that many substances and still be able to drive on a street with curves at more than 100 mph?” the traffic safety advocate asked.
“The only thing that stopped him was the van with the family in it that had a green light and happened to be in his path,” she said.
Credits: KOLO TV
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