A box truck driver faces various DUI charges after causing a tragic accident on a highway in Nevada. Unfortunately, he struck and killed five cyclists. It was later discovered that the driver reportedly had a high level of methamphetamine in his system during the collision. This intoxication may have been the primary cause of the accident.
The suspect identified as Jordan Alexander Barson, 45, now faces up to 12 felony charges.
According to the Clark County District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson, the suspect was charged with the following:
- Five counts of driving under the influence resulting in death
- One count of driving under the influence resulting in substantial bodily harm
- Five counts of reckless driving resulting in death.
Police arrested Barson and placed him in custody at the Mohave County Jail in Kingman. He will be extradited to Nevada where the charges he faces could put him in state prison for decades.
The Morning of the DUI Accident
The incident occurred early in the morning on Thursday, December 10th. Highway Patrol reported that Barson was driving an Isuzu box truck when he approached a group of about 20 cyclists who were being escorted by a Subaru Outback. The cyclists, who were taking part in an annual 130-mile ride, had split into two packs–one riding in front of the Subaru and one riding behind it. Barson hit the slower-moving group that was behind the Subaru and then hit the Subaru shortly after.
Consequently, seven cyclists were thrown from their bikes, and five of them died on the highway. Authorities identified the cyclists whose lives were tragically taken as Erin Ray, 39; Michael Murray, 57; Aksoy Ahmet, 48; and Thomas Trauger, 57; and Gerrard Nieva. All of them were residents of Las Vegas.
Another cyclist whose identity remains undisclosed was hospitalized in critical condition but eventually stabilized after receiving extensive medical attention. Emergency personnel also carried the driver of the Subaru to a nearby hospital in stable condition.
During the crash, however, Barson suffered no injuries and remained on the scene of the crime to speak with investigators. The Highway Patrol initially believed that Barson was not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol because he told investigators that he fell asleep at the wheel. After further investigation, they found that Barson had a highly addictive stimulant called methamphetamine in his system.
The Community Mourns
The portion of the highway the cyclists were traveling before the collision was generally considered a safe route for biking because of its wide shoulder. It is disappointing that it will no longer be considered as such moving forward. District Attorney Mr. Wolfson made a statement saying that he was at a loss for words and underscored the recklessness of driving while intoxicated. He closed his statement saying “tragically, this type of reckless behavior has left five people dead, several injured, and our community in mourning once again.”
A relief fund has since been created for the families of the victims.