March 3, 2022 - 11:28 am
Updated March 3, 2022 - 6:19 pm
Video released Thursday showed the moments before a car barreled through a red light and into heavy cross traffic in North Las Vegas, resulting in the state’s deadliest crash in at least 30 years.
North Las Vegas police released about one minute of video from a Republic Services depot on Jan. 29 near Cheyenne Avenue and Commerce Street. It showed a Dodge Challenger speeding down Commerce before smashing into a minivan. Nine people died in the crash.
Las Vegas attorney Thomas Moskal, who specializes in defending impaired driving cases, reviewed the video Thursday for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and said he saw nothing to suggest that the Challenger’s driver suffered any kind of medical episode, such as a seizure.
“The car is just maintaining a straight line so well over that distance and speed, even when the car hits the dip,” Moskal said. “It seems to me the steering wheel is being maintained pretty well.”
The attorney, who worked for seven years as a prosecutor in the vehicular crimes unit of the Clark County district attorney’s office, also noted that he never saw the car’s brake lights come on.
Police said Gary Robinson, 59, of North Las Vegas, was driving over 100 mph when his Challenger sped into a white Toyota Sienna minivan carrying seven family members. Four other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Robinson and his 46-year-old passenger, Tanaga Miller, and all seven people in the van died.
Miller’s family later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he did not know Robinson and was just looking for a ride. Miller suffered a stroke in September that forced him to quit two jobs and prevented him from driving.
Those in the van were identified as Fernando Yeshua Mejia, 5; Adrian Zacarias, 10; Lluvia Daylenn Zacarias, 13; Bryan Axel Zacarias, 15; Gabriel Mejia-Barrera, 23; David Mejia-Barrera, 25; and Jose Zacarias-Caldera, 35.
The footage released Thursday was from two different angles and showed that Robinson’s was the only car traveling north on Commerce. He whizzed by southbound vehicles and smashed into several cars crossing on Cheyenne. Authorities said it was the deadliest crash since the state started keeping those records in 1991.
A Review-Journal investigation found that Robinson had a clean record with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles despite being cited for speeding at least five times in the 15 months preceding the fatal crash.
The Clark County coroner’s office had not determined the cause and manner of death for any of the nine people killed as of Thursday. Robinson’s toxicology results were pending.
North Las Vegas police declined to comment further on the deadly crash or the video footage.
The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, which had not released a preliminary report as of Thursday, and North Las Vegas police.
Moskal said Robinson’s conduct in the newly released video illustrates why prosecutors tried to charge certain impaired or reckless drivers with second-degree murder before the Nevada Supreme Court ruled against the approach.
“It is akin to shooting a gun into a crowd is what he was doing,” the attorney said.