BOULDER CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — A Las Vegas-area judge believes something interfered with a woman’s alcohol-monitoring bracelet — but it could not be determined if it was intentional or just the woman’s sock.
In September, Taylor Madison crossed the center line on U.S. 95 heading south toward Searchlight, crashing into Katarina “Kat” Johnson’s car head-on, Nevada State Police said.
Johnson, a freshman UNLV student from Tennessee, was driving northbound on her way back from meeting friends.
Madison told the investigating trooper she thought she was drugged. The trooper noted he “could smell the strong odor” of alcohol coming from her, adding he found a “white powdery substance” and marijuana in her car, documents said.
Madison, who also uses the last name Cheney, is charged with DUI resulting in death. As part of her release agreement pending trial, she cannot drink, drive or use drugs.
Over the course of 20 hours on March 1 and March 2, something triggered her alcohol-monitoring bracelet to send a tamper alert, prosecutors said. The device cannot measure ethanol in a person’s sweat when tampered, Nicole Erskine, a representative from SCRAM, the company that provides the bracelets in Clark County, said in court Tuesday.
Victoria Villegas, the prosecutor in the case, said Madison violated that release agreement last year.
“The last time I was there was February 14,” Villegas said about appearing in court. “At that time, we were considering, judge, the violation of the positive of cocaine.”
Judge Victor Miller warned Madison in that hearing, increasing her bail from $50,000 to $150,000, records showed.
During Tuesday’s hearing about the alleged tampering, Madison’s attorney, Frank Kocka, asked the representative from SCRAM what could cause a tamper alert.
“I guess an example of that could be if a sock goes in between or whatever the case may be,” Erksine said.
Kocka later said the company replaced the battery in the bracelet a day after the tamper alert. He also said Madison was wearing new socks during the period in question.
Kocka then showed photos of the socks on Madison to the judge.
“It could be accidental,” Kocka said. “It could be a sock riding up. There’s a very high likelihood that a sock could have caused it.”
Miller agreed there was no way to definitively prove the device was tampered with.
“If anything happens this is three strikes and you’re back in jail — and this is two,” Miller said.
“I think she’s had a lot of leniency throughout this process,” Kat Johnson’s mother, Alexaundra Johnson, said outside court. “I just have to have faith in the process and the judge and just hoping that the final outcome will be what we’re happy with.”
Madison remained out of custody with the bracelet and a drug-monitoring patch. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for June.
As the 8 News Now Investigators reported earlier this year, the crash happened at 12:33 a.m. on a section of road in the jurisdiction of Nevada State Police but records show Boulder City police arrived first at 12:41 a.m. The city’s fire department reached the crash site two minutes later at 12:43 a.m.
The first state trooper arrived at 1:14 a.m. – nearly 45 minutes after impact.