LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man accused of killing another driver Thursday while under the influence previously served prison time for a fatal DUI and was awaiting a court appearance for a DUI arrest earlier this summer, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned.
Prentiss Bates, 50, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of a controlled substance resulting in death in 2013, records showed.
Bates was driving a car near Cheyenne Avenue and Nellis Boulevard on Nov. 25, 2012, when he crashed into a motorcycle, killing its rider, Jim Burchette, 58, records said.
Bates told the responding officer he had recently smoked marijuana. The officer at the time also noted Bates did not have a valid driver’s license, records showed. Bates also told the officer he had a prior DUI in California.
A judge sentenced Bates to 8 to 20 years in prison. The judge also ordered an interlock device be placed on his car for a minimum of 3 years following his release. It was unclear when Bates was released.
In June, prosecutors charged Bates with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Officers said they found Bates sleeping behind the wheel of a car near Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.
“Upon stepping out of the vehicle, the driver was observed to have bloodshot eyes and sweating profusely while swaying and having a hard time keeping balance,” an officer wrote in a report. “The driver was asked if he had taken anything to drink and he stated he had one beer.”
A judge first set bail at $50,000. A judge later approved Bates’ release on $5,000 bond pending another court appearance, ordering him not to drive and to wear a monitoring bracelet.
Records show Bates failed to appear at an August hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. A hearing on that case was scheduled for November.
On Thursday morning, Bates hit a median and crossed the centerline, before slamming into the front of a Chevrolet, killing its driver and “causing extensive damage to both vehicles,” police said.
The Chevrolet was parked in the far-right lane in a coned-off construction zone facing southbound on Rancho Drive and north of Red Coach Avenue. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Bates, was driving northbound on Rancho south of Red Coach just before the crash, police said.
The driver, a man who is 40, had not been identified as of Thursday afternoon.
Bates faces new charges of DUI resulting in death, reckless driving resulting in death, failure to maintain his lane, failure to drive on the right half of the road, and an enhancement of vehicular homicide, police said.
Police did not say what substance they suspected Bates had consumed before driving.