DUI Kills 2 In Vegas
An early morning crash, possibly caused by a drunk driver, has claimed the lives of two Las Vegas residents and injured three more in yet another example of the carnage being caused on the city’s street by impaired drivers. Two family dogs were also killed in the accident.
On Sunday, June 5th, at approximately 4:50 AM, 29-year-old Vanesa Calderon and her longtime partner, Jefry Thomas, 31, had just finished up their work shifts and were on their way home. Thomas was a member of the security personnel at one of the Bellagio lounges, and Calderon worked at Senor Frogs, a popular nightclub on the Strip. They were traveling on Alta Drive in a late-model Hyundai Sonata. The couple had just picked up their two dogs from the home of Calderon’s mother, who regularly watched the dogs while the pair were at work.
An older GMC Sierra pickup truck being driven by Christian Carrillo, 23, of Las Vegas, was traveling north on Rainbow Boulevard when it apparently ran the red light where Rainbow intersects with Alta, striking the Sonata broadside, and causing both vehicles to leave the road and impact a concrete block wall behind a residential home. Both vehicles were completely totaled in the crash.
Thomas and Calderon were pronounced dead at the scene, as were their two dogs. Carillo and two passengers in his truck were rushed to University Medical Center with what the police report described as moderate injuries.
A statement from the police department said that investigators were awaiting the results of toxicology tests performed on Carrillo, and if they came back positive for alcohol above the legal limit, they were prepared to charge him with two counts of driving under the influence (DUI) resulting in death. Both charges would be felonies.
Family and Friends are Anguished
Jefry Thomas and Vanesa Calderon had been a couple for many years. They were the parents of two toddler-aged children, a boy and a girl.
Patricia Videla, the mother of Calderon, broke down with grief upon hearing the news of her daughter’s death, crying out that she had lost everything.
A close friend of the couple, Eliana Dougherty, who stated she had known Calderon since childhood, was also crushed when she heard about the accident, saying, “My life is changed. A piece of my heart has been ripped out. They had finished work and they usually rode together, they gotten off work to come to pick up the dogs and go home. They are going to be missed more than anyone will ever understand.”
Many members of the community have turned out to leave flowers, stuffed animals, signs with messages of support and condolences, and candles at the scene of the accident. Relatives and friends are asking concerned individuals to donate to the Vanesa and Jefry Memorial Fund on the GoFundMe crowdfunding site to help defray the costs of the funerals and the traveling expenses of the family members attending. With a stated goal of $20,000, the fund had reached $28,960 as of this writing. The site states that excess monies will be donated to Patricia Videla and to Robin Thomas, Jefry’s mother.
A Terrible Toll
Drinking and driving continues to be a factor in many horrible accidents on the streets of Las Vegas, causing serious injuries and fatalities at an inordinate rate. Part of the problem is that, because of budget shortfalls, there are fewer police officers on the streets to catch drunk drivers before they can cause harm to themselves and others, and those that are patrolling often don’t respond to non-injury accidents. As a result, DUI arrests are down 43% in the city from previous years, even while the Nevada Highway Patrol reports a 23% increase in arrests.
Protect Your Rights
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident in Las Vegas, you can expect to be faced with high medical bills and possibly weeks or months of lost income, as well as pain and suffering. You do have a right to compensation for your losses. You need to protect your rights immediately. Contact the Eric H. Woods Law Office to arrange a free and confidential consultation.