Driver enters plea deal in crash that killed five bicyclists on Dec. 10

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The man accused of driving under the influence in a Dec. 10 crash that killed five bicyclists has pleaded guilty.

Court documents indicate Jordan Barson, 45, entered a guilty plea agreement on Tuesday and is scheduled for sentencing on June 9.

The plea deal reduces the number of charges Barson was facing. He had faced separate counts of DUI and reckless driving for each of the five bicyclists killed and other charges — 14 counts in all.

He has pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI resulting in death. Each count carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison.

Terms of the plea agreement also include a fine of $2,000 to $5,000.

The cyclists were all from Las Vegas and included 39 year-old Erin Michelle Ray, 57-year-old Michael Todd Murray, 48-year-old Aksoy Ahmet, 57-year-old Thomas Chamberlin Trauger, and 41-year-old Gerrard Suarez Nieva.

An I-Team report a week after the crash showed “massive amounts” of methamphetamine in Barson’s blood.

The crash happened Dec. 10 between Boulder City and Searchlight, about 60 miles outside of Las Vegas. The speed limit on that section of the highway is 75 mph.

At the crash site, a trooper said “he had to stop the [field sobriety tests] due to the emotional state of Barson and interference from the Mercy Air helicopter,” documents said.

Two hours after the crash, Barson submitted to a blood draw at an area hospital. Blood results showed Barson had 948 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his blood, documents said. The limit, 100 nanograms per milliliter, is the bar prosecutors must show to prove impairment.

Barson, who drove a box truck on a route between Arizona and Las Vegas, remains in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.

The documents also indicate Barson fell asleep after the crash and had nine times the legal limit of methamphetamine in his system.

Barson struck the bicyclists and an escort vehicle as the group traveled south on U.S. Highway 95 toward Arizona, according to authorities. The cyclists were struck from behind as the truck crossed into the bicycle lane.

The crash has caused bicycle advocates to take a more active role in publicizing current laws that require motorists to allow three feet of space for bicyclists — and to move left into another lane when it is available.

A “Ghost Bike” memorial to the five bicyclists is currently on display at Downtown Summerlin.

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