NEVADA – Jordan Alexander Barson, the truck driver who plowed through a bicyclist group on a Nevada highway, was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in state prison.
Barson was found guilty of driving under the influence of methamphetamine causing death.
Barson apologized and asked for forgiveness as he spoke by video for the Clark County Detention Center. Barson’s attorney stated that his client did not intend to cause harm.
“Knowing I caused the deaths of five people and severely hurt two others is unbearable most of the time. I want you to know that I’m so truly sorry for what I’ve done. I know you will carry this pain forever, and it breaks my heart that I caused this,” said Barson.
Judge Bita Yeager, the Clark Country District Court Judge, acknowledged Barson’s remorse. However, she also reaffirmed the sentence, since Barson did plead guilty to two counts of driving under the influence that resulted in death.
“Their lives are forever affected because of your poor choice,” Judge Yeager told Barson.
Barson was also declared imminent hazard by the FMCSA shortly after the crash.
The Fateful Moment when Barson Killed the Cyclists
The crash happened around 9:40 a.m., Dec. 10, 2020, 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.”