LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Grand jury transcripts filed in the case of a UNLV recruit accused of driving under the influence when he was involved in a deadly crash show the panel did not believe marijuana played a factor in the incident.
Zaon Collins is charged with felony DUI and felony reckless driving in the crash that killed Eric Echevarria, 52, on Dec. 30 near Fort Apache and Blue Diamond roads.
Metro police told the Clark County grand jury that Collins had three nanograms of the active ingredient of marijuana in his system at the time of the crash. Anything above two nanograms is considered impaired by Nevada law.
Collins, 19, was also “traveling 85 miles per hour in a residential area with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. His speed at the time of impact was over 60 miles per hour,” prosecutors allege.
A grand jury declined to move forward on the DUI charge, transcripts show, but did indict him on reckless driving. Because the DUI charge is a felony, the grand jury would have had to decide that marijuana was a factor in the crash.
“If you find that he’s over the per se level or he’s under the influence, you have to separately find that a traffic duty he violated was a proximate cause of the crash in this case,” Thomas Moskal, chief deputy district attorney for Clark County, told the grand jury.
In a statement to the I-Team, the district attorney’s office said it planned to move forward on the felony DUI and reckless driving charges, saying, “prosecutors can take a case to trial by either conducting a preliminary hearing or proceeding to the grand jury.”
Normally, if a grand jury indicts someone, the other initial charges are dropped. In this case, the district attorney decided to drop the felony reckless driving indictment from the grand jury and is proceeding with the original case.
A Metro officer testified Collins had a “green leafy substance” in a closed jar in the car at the time of the crash. Collins told investigators he had used marijuana previously, but not the day of the crash, documents said.
In January, UNLV cut ties with Collins, who played high school basketball at Bishop Gorman.
Collins has been out of jail awaiting further court proceedings since January. He has pleaded not guilty. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday.