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DUI suspect told police she used illegal drugs before fatal crash

Updated August 7, 2020 - 8:26 am

The driver of an SUV that fatally struck two 16-year-old Las Vegas girls in a crosswalk Monday night admitted to smoking marijuana and using heroin, methamphetamine and PCP earlier in the day, according to an arrest report.

Ebone Whitaker, 38, revealed details of her drug use during an interview with two Metropolitan Police Department detectives at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center following the crash, according to the report, which was released Thursday.

“Whitaker stated she did not remember the collision,” the detectives wrote in the report. “I then informed Whitaker of the details of the collision and that she was responsible for the death of the juveniles. Whitaker began crying and stated she was sorry.”

According to the report, Whitaker, a Las Vegas resident, lost control of her Mercedes-Benz while weaving in and out of southbound traffic on Maryland Parkway as she approached a red light at the intersection with Katie Avenue.

The SUV veered to the right onto a sidewalk to avoid a car stopped at the light and struck a traffic sign before continuing south and hitting the two girls as they were crossing Katie.

One of the teens was thrown into the road and slid underneath the vehicle stopped at the light.

The vehicle’s driver later told police that he noticed the speeding Mercedes-Benz approaching his car and had braced for an impact, but when the SUV flew past him, he opened his car door to find an arm sticking out from underneath his vehicle, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the second teen was thrown into a nearby McDonald’s drive-thru lane as Whitaker’s vehicle spun out, eventually striking two trees and a traffic pole before coming to a stop.

Citlali Mora died at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the Clark County coroner’s office, while Nelly Amaya-Ramirez was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where she also died from multiple blunt force injuries.

The girls, Del Sol High School students, had been best friends since middle school, according to their friend Leon Amado Pineda.

Whitaker, who witnesses said “looked dazed,” was seriously injured in the crash and was hospitalized for several days, though as of Thursday afternoon, she had been transferred to the Clark County Detention Center, according to a police spokesman.

She faces charges of DUI resulting in death, reckless driving, failure to maintain a lane and failure to decrease speed, court records show.

Detectives, in the report, described Whitaker’s speech as “slow and confused” during the interview at the hospital that night.

Whitaker told police she is a daily user of heroin and was driving home from a friend’s house when the crash happened, and that she had consumed two beers and smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

Earlier in the day, she added, she and her friends also had smoked a PCP-covered cigarette, according to the report.

Court records show that Whitaker has faced drug-related charges in Las Vegas dating to 2007 and pleaded guilty to a charge of malicious injury to a vehicle after she admitted to kicking out a police car window in 2004.

At a brief court hearing Tuesday, which Whitaker did not attend, prosecutors said they expected test results by Wednesday from two blood draws taken at the hospital. The results were not known Thursday, as a morning court hearing was rescheduled for Monday, and the results were not included in her arrest report.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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