LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A bill brought on by the tragic death of a 13-year-old boy in Henderson is circulating through the legislature. It would enhance the penalty for reckless driving.
Senate Bill 322 was introduced on Monday in Carson City, and it has seven primary sponsors, including Republican State Senator Jeff Stone and Republican Assemblyman Toby Yurek, both from Clark County.
Rex Patchett was killed on Mar. 7, 2022, in front of Mannion Middle School in Henderson. He was walking home from a friend’s house. A judge sentenced the driver, Jose Marmolejo, to six years in prison on Jan. 25 for driving nearly 100 mph when he hit Rex. Marmolejo was 21 years old when the crash happened.
According to the Nevada statute, six years is the maximum prison sentence Marmolejo could receive.
Jason Patchett, Rex’s father, became committed to increasing the penalties for reckless drivers in Nevada, working with several lawmakers to craft SB 322 called “Rex’s Law.”
The proposed bill increases driving penalties for incidents that result in serious injury or death. Currently, that penalty is one to six years. The new legislation would raise the minimum penalty to one year and the maximum penalty to 10 years. Additionally, the penalty would increase to a minimum of eight years and a maximum of 20 years if a person is driving 50 mph over the speed limit. Another one to five years would be added if reckless driving happens in a pedestrian safety zone or temporary traffic control zone.
“It’s an epidemic,” Patchett said at Marmolejo’s sentencing. “I was sentenced to life in the prison of all prisons. The prison of lifelong pain. The prison of lifelong grief. The prison of lifelong fear.”
A hearing in the Nevada State Capitol for SB 322 has yet to be scheduled. Jason Patchett is calling on the public to help support this bill.