LAS VEGAS, NV – A box truck driver plowed into a group of more than 20 cyclists, killing five and injuring 4 cyclists.
The trucker was charged with DUI resulting in death. According to official report, the trucker had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the accident.
Since the accident, the trucker has been identified as Jordan Alexander Barson, 45-years-old.
Official court records state Barson was charged with five counts of DUI resulting in death. He also got five felony counts of reckless driving resulting in death, one felony count of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm, and one felony count of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson added that an “extremely high level” of methamphetamine was found in Barson’s system. He had nine times the allowed amount of meth in his system at the time of the crash.
Following the initial charges against him on Tuesday, December 15th, Barson was taken into custody at 7 a.m. Wednesday by the Mohave County Sheriff Department and is awaiting extradition to Clark County.
The Moments Before the Crash
The crash happened around 9:40 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Highway 95 near Nelson Road. The cyclist group was on a 130-mile Nipton Loop. This route has been done annually for a decade and a half.
As the group approached Searchlight, on a stretch with a 75 mph speed limit, strong winds started to pick up. This forced about seven cyclists to break off the larger group. The smaller group started driving behind their escort vehicle for cover, a 2019 Subaru hatchback.
Moments after the smaller group separated from the large group, an unmarked box truck, driven by Barson, left the road. The trucker then hit the group of seven cyclists from behind and pinned them against the escort vehicle.
The force of the impact ejected seven riders from their bicycles.
Five of the cyclists died on the scene. All victims were Las Vegas residents, including Erin Michelle Ray, 39, Michael Todd, 57, Aksoy Ahmet, 48, Thomas Chamberline Trauger, 57, and Gerrard Suarez Nieva, 41. The cause of death for all five cyclists was blunt force trauma.
Of the three injured, one was taken by ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries, and one refused to go to the hospital with minor injuries. The third was flown to the University Medical Center in critical condition.
“Three were dead instantly, as you could tell from their bodies,” said Nevada cyclist Michael Anderson. Anderson is a retired police officer who was riding in the group for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I watched two die in front of me. I have been crying all day.” Anderson continues, “I’ve seen stuff, obviously as a police officer… But it’s your friends … I’ve never seen that.”
Bodycam Footage Indicated Something Was Off
During the interrogation at the scene of the accident, Barson told troopers he had fallen asleep behind the wheel. He failed to pass field sobriety tests. However, troopers smelled no alcohol on his breath and assumed he was not impaired by substance abuse, trooper cam footage shows.
“Of course the nine-step walk and turn and the one-leg stand was a disaster, but look how shaky he is,” one trooper is heard telling another in the footage.
Another thing evident from the footage is that Barson initially declined to undergo blood tests. But, he agreed to be taken to a hospital after he was informed that his license will be suspended for a year if he refused.
During a police interview at his home in Arizona after the incident, Barson admitted that he was a recovering addict that relapsed and took methamphetamine the afternoon before the incident. It made him unable to sleep well before he started driving on the day of the accident.