Lawyers for former UNLV recruit Zaon Collins ask Nevada Supreme Court to drop DUI charge in fatal crash

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Zaon Collins (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lawyers for former UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins are petitioning the Nevada Supreme Court to have the DUI charge in a fatal crash dropped. Although he tested positive for marijuana, his lawyers say he wasn’t impaired by it.

The fatal crash involving Zaon Collins occurred on Dec. 30, 2019, at Fort Apache Road and Furnace Gulch Avenue (KLAS-TV)

Collins was involved in a crash on Dec. 30, 2019, in southwest Las Vegas that left Eric Echevarria, 52, dead. Police said Collins was speeding at 88 mph and had marijuana in his system. A grand jury indicted Collins on a felony reckless driving charge but declined to move forward on the felony DUI charge. Documents indicated the grand jury didn’t believe marijuana was a factor in the crash.

In court documents, Collins’ attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld argue, “the state wants to proceed against with both charges in the Justice Court after dismissing the indictment. It is respectfully submitted that there is no statutory authority for the State to proceed in this forum shopping manner, and the Justice Court lacks jurisdiction to proceed on both charges.”

Collins tested positive for 3.0 ng/ML of THC (marijuana). Anything above 2.0 ng/ML is considered impaired. Part of the case hinges on whether Collins was impaired by the amount of marijuana in his system.

Collins’ lawyers also argue that the state laws, including a new law enacted in July 2021, for driving under the influence of marijuana are unconstitutional because they “include per se levels of THC content that are not scientifically based and are not indicative of impairment.”

The lawyers say the laws fail to “provide a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice of what is prohibited.”

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