Culture

Driver sentenced in crash that killed 5 bicyclists near Las Vegas


The driver of a box truck that plowed into a group of cyclists near Las Vegas, killing five, was sentenced Wednesday to a prison term of up to 40 years.

Jordan Barson, 45, was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the Dec. 10 crash on Highway 95 near Searchlight. In an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to two counts of driving under the influence resulting in death.

The five cyclists were among a group of about 20  riding with an escort car on a 130-mile loop out of Las Vegas. The truck hit the cyclists who were behind the car shielding from the headwind.

Killed were Erin Michelle Ray, 39; Gerrard Suarez Nieva, 41; Michael Todd Murray, 57; Aksoy Ahmet, 48; and Tom Trauger, 57. Four others were injured.

Trauger was a longtime Berkeley resident and the chief financial officer of the Bay Area chain Sports Basement. A top-ranked triathlete in his age group, he had moved with his wife to Las Vegas about five years ago.

Trauger’s widow, Donna, was one of the family members who told reporters after Wednesday’s sentencing that “justice was not served,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal said.

She alleged that Nevada Highway Patrol officers mishandled the case —  in particular, the blood draw — compelling prosecutors to make a deal for a lesser sentence. “I was told NHP was busy victim-blaming,” she said outside the courthouse.

Had Barson been convicted of five counts rather than two, he would have faced more than 100 years in prison. Under the sentence he received, he could be eligible for parole in 16 years.

The crash site was near mile marker 36 on southbound Highway 95.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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