Family of cyclist killed in crash files lawsuit against driver, employer

Local News

Driver high on meth hits, kills 5 last December outside Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The family of a cyclist killed in a crash last December has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver, his employer and several other companies.

The crash happened on Dec. 10, 2020, between Boulder City and Searchlight, about 60 miles outside of Las Vegas. Tom Trauger, 57, and four others died in the crash. Tom Trauger’s wife, Donna Trauger, and Tom Trauger’s two children are suing for compensation.

Jordan Barson, 46, struck the group of bicyclists and an escort vehicle as the group traveled south on U.S. 95 toward Arizona.

Barson was working for a courier service based in Arizona. He had driven from Arizona to Las Vegas for a pickup that morning and was on his way back to Arizona. The cyclists were struck from behind as the truck crossed into the right lane.

Tom Trauger (KLAS)

Tests would later show Barson had a substantial amount of methamphetamine in his system. In April, Barson pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI resulting in death. In June, a judge sentenced him to 16-40 years in prison.

“His pure joy was just being out there on a beautiful day riding his bike,” Donna Trauger previously told 8 News Now. “One of the things I’m really grateful for is that I was awake that morning, that we talked and that I got to see him before he left for his ride.”

The lawsuit also involves the driver of the escort vehicle, David Merrill, claiming he was negligent.

Nevada Highway Patrol troopers did not suspect Barson was impaired, but a blood test administered without a warrant would later find he had a level of methamphetamine in his system often seen in corpses. The lawsuit does not involve the department.

Four days after the crash, during an in-person interview at his home, Barson admitted to consuming methamphetamine around 4 p.m. on Dec. 9, one day before the crash. He told troopers he did not sleep well but continued his driving route from Arizona to Las Vegas. Troopers described him in their arresting documents as a “recovering methamphetamine user.”

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