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Suspect in fatal wrong-way crash had blood alcohol level 3 times limit

Updated September 15, 2020 - 4:56 pm

A man accused of causing a deadly crash while driving the wrong way on U.S. Highway 95 had a blood alcohol content that was three times the legal limit for drivers, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

At a morning court hearing, Clark County prosecutor Katie Derjavina said the blood alcohol content for Benjamin Ames was 0.24 percent at the time of the crash. The legal limit in Nevada is 0.08 percent.

“This is someone who is a danger to this community,” Derjavina said.

Multiple people called the Nevada Highway Patrol at the time of the crash to report Ames was going about 100 mph, and one officer said Ames had almost struck his vehicle before continuing on the highway, according to an arrest report from the Henderson Police Department.

The prosecutor also said Ames was on probation for a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon in an unrelated case.

District Court records show Ames was convicted in June on one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of battery constituting domestic violence. He was sentenced to a minimum of one year in the Nevada Department of Corrections but was never admitted to the prison, according to prison records.

In August he was put on probation with several conditions, including that he “shall not consume any alcoholic beverages whatsoever,” according to District Court records.

“He was given the opportunity of probation to show he could be a law-abiding citizen and what does he do?” Derjavina said. “He kills somebody.”

Ames, 32, made his initial appearance in the courtroom of Henderson Justice of the Peace Stephen George. George granted a prosecution request to set bail at $250,000 on charges stemming from the crash. The judge noted that Ames already is being held without bail on a probation violation.

Clark County Deputy Public Defender Erling Oster reserved the right to argue the bail amount during future court proceedings. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Sept. 29.

Ames was arrested after the wrong-way crash that killed 58-year-old Susan Teves of Las Vegas at 1:45 a.m. Friday near Russell Road. The Nevada Highway Patrol said Ames was driving a Hummer the wrong way on the freeway when it slammed head on into a Nissan Sentra driven by Teves. She died at the scene, while Ames suffered minor injuries.

Ames reportedly told police he had three beers before driving.

He was arrested on suspicion of DUI resulting in death, reckless driving resulting in death, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving the wrong way on a one-way road, failing to give information to a party at a vehicle accident, failing to report an unattended vehicle, failing to provide proof of insurance, failing to wear a safety belt and a probation violation, the Highway Patrol said.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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