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Drunk Driver Kills One in Las Vegas

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Drunk Driver Kills One

The first day of the month of June witnessed yet another fatal motor vehicle accident involving drinking and driving on the streets of Las Vegas, a scene that is repeated with depressing regularity on the city’s streets.

According to the report from the Nevada Highway Patrol, at approximately 10:45 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, a late-model Mazda CX-5 driven by Dennis Baldwin, 29, of Henderson, was travelling at a high rate of speed in the eastbound lane of Flamingo Road approaching the intersection with U.S. 95.

At the same time, a Toyota Camry and a Nissan Sentra driving on U.S. 95 approached the stoplight at the intersection with Flamingo Road, intending to travel westbound on that road. One vehicle was in the right hand lane, while the other was in the left. When the light changed to green, both vehicles entered the intersection where they were struck by the Mazda, which had failed to stop at the red light.

Reconstruction of the Accident

According to the police report, the Mazda driven by Baldwin first struck the front-end of the Nissan, then continued eastbound through the intersection striking the passenger side of the Toyota. The force of the impact was great enough to push the Toyota across the centerline where it impacted with the rear-end of a Nissan Frontier that was stopped at the red light in the westbound lane of Flamingo Road.

The unnamed driver of the Toyota Camry, a 71-year-old female, was declared dead on the scene. Her name is being withheld by the Clark County coroner’s office pending notification of the next of kin.

Baldwin was taken to University Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries sustained in the accident, then released into the custody of police and taken to the Clark County Detention Center, where he was charged with one count of driving under the influence (DUI) resulting in death, and one count of failure to obey a stoplight.

UPDATE – The Clark County coroner has since identified the name of the woman killed in this tragic accident. She was Emma Marie Schaffer, a resident of Henderson.

Drunken Driving Accidents a Serious Problem in Las Vegas

Drinking and driving causes a horrendous amount of carnage on the streets of Las Vegas every year. Even for a town with a reputation as a place to drink and party, the serious injuries, deaths, and property damage resulting from these accidents seem exceptionally high, and at the same time enforcement levels are dropping.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the Metro Police Department saw arrests for DUI drop from a high of over 7,700 in 2012 to lower than 4,500 in 2014, a decrease of 43%, and the number continues to decline. Sheriff Joe Lombardi cited budget constraints that have led to fewer officers on the street and a lack of response to non-injury accidents as the cause of the drop in arrests, although he says DUI remains a high priority for law enforcement. “DUI is still in the same position on the priority list that it’s always been, it’s just that if you have fewer people addressing it, you’re going to have fewer arrests” he said.

At the same time, the Nevada Highway Patrol saw DUI arrests rise from 1,800 to over 2,200 in those years, an increase of 23%, so there’s no lack of drivers who drink and drive.

Sandy Heverly, the executive director of victim advocacy group Stop DUI, says the immediate and simple solution is more enforcement. “If you have more officers on the street, you’re going to have less crime. We believe we need more officers on the street” she said.

She also stated that dram shop laws and tougher sentencing of violators would help to decrease drinking and driving in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Accident Litigation

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, it is essential that you take steps to protect your rights. Contact the law offices of Eric H. Woods to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation today.

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