LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas businessman faces several lawsuits in addition to criminal charges after police say he caused a crash that left a local mother dead, and three others seriously injured. The I-Team has been following developments surrounding Scott Gragson’s arrest ever since everything unfolded in an affluent Summerlin neighborhood in May.
Gragson is a wealthy Las Vegas real estate executive, so attorneys are seeking a significant amount of money, most likely millions. One of the plaintiffs is the estate of Melissa Newton, the 36-year-old mother who was killed. Her three daughters will receive the money if a jury awards it or if there turns out to be a settlement.
The I-Team was the first to obtain video, transcripts, and photos from Gragson’s criminal case. On that fateful day on May 30, Gragson was seen speeding off at a guard gate at the Ridges. He lost control of his SUV. Newton was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Three other passengers were hurt, so all of them are suing as well.
Metro Police says Gragson was drunk, failed this sobriety test, and was more than two times the legal limit. On Tuesday, in court, Judge Rob Bare with Clark County District Court decided all of the cases could be consolidated to help provide less of a strain on court resources. Gragson’s attorney, Todd Bice, put up a fight.
According to Bice, the judge’s actions, such as setting a trial date for a civil case, insinuate Gragson will be convicted on criminal charges he faces.
Judge Bare: “Hypothetically, I’m not afraid to say this because I’ve told you what I think. You and I apparently disagree. You think that I’m pre-supposing a conviction. I am not. Okay? I’m telling you I’m not.”
Todd Bice: “I understand that, but I think the fact that we’re having this argument tells the media and tells the world, including a potential jury pool the opposite.”
Gragson is pleading not guilty to felony DUI charges. He is out on bond with electronic monitoring. His criminal trial is set for March.
Colliers International is also named a defendant. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue Scott Gragson was technically working when he was drinking alcohol before he drove.
Lawyers on the civil side will be back in court in October.
The judge pointed out Tuesday lawyers for both sides are in his words, “high caliber.”