‘It was the right thing to do’: Mother convinces accused fatal hit-and-run driver to return to the scene

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas Metro Police are investigating a deadly hit-and-run involving a pedestrian that happened Monday near Tropicana and Torrey Pines.

The driver, now identified as 21-year-old Jalen Thomas returned to the scene of the incident about 30 minutes later and was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI, according to police.

Police say, on Monday, October 4 at approximately 7:04 p.m., a fatal hit-and-run traffic collision occurred on West Tropicana Avenue, west of South Torrey Pines Drive.

Evidence at the scene and witness statements indicate that Thomas, the driver of a 2014 Kia Cadenza was traveling westbound on Tropicana Avenue when he struck a 77-year-old male pedestrian, with the left side of the vehicle, as the man was crossing the same street outside of a marked crosswalk.

Thomas, then left the scene, according to the police report and witness statements.

The pedestrian died on the scene and the coroner’s office has not yet released his identity.

According to the police report, Thomas, later returned to the collision scene around 7:45 p.m. this time, his mother drove him there in the same car that he had driven earlier.

His aunt followed them to the collision scene as well.

The report says Thomas explained to officers what happened and that he “panicked and believed he would be arrested, so he continued driving and left the scene to see his daughter one last time before he went to jail.”

Police administered field sobriety tests and determined Thomas was showing signs of impairment.

He was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center for related charges, according to police.

He also admitted that he called his mother who convinced him to return to the collision scene.

The report continues that after interviewing Thomas, officers spoke to Thomas’ mother and her sister, his aunt. His mother stated that she received a call from Thomas shortly after the collision where he told her what happened.

His mother and aunt then drove to his residence and convinced him to return to the collision scene, “because it was the right thing to do.”

His mother then drove the Kia involved in the collision back to the scene. That is when they then made contact with officers during the active investigation.

The pedestrian death marks the 107th traffic-related fatality in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s jurisdiction for 2021.

The collision remains under investigation by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Collision Investigation Section.

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