Woman accused in tow truck driver’s death filed hit-and-run report with NHP

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The woman accused in a crash that killed a tow truck driver last week filed a hit-and-run report with the Nevada Highway Patrol a day later.

Colette Despain, 51, later told troopers she didn’t know a man had died — she said the tow truck pulled into her lane as she was passing it and then sped away, according to an arrest report. She was reporting that the truck knocked off her side mirror.

Despain, 51, faces multiple charges in the March 9 crash that killed Ryan Matthew Billotte, 48.

“As I went to pass him he suddenly pulled out and right into my front right fender,” Despain wrote in a report filed at 2 p.m. the next day at NHP’s Southern Command headquarters.

“I recovered and pulled off of next exit to exchange info and saw in my rearview he pulled off into traffic and got into far left lane and sped off. I was not able to get name of tow company as it all happened so fast and was dark,” Despain wrote.

When troopers learned of the report, they called Despain and asked her about details of the crash. After they spoke, she emailed photos of the damage to her 2015 Ford Transit van.

She said the tow truck was on the right side of the road with flashing lights, and even correctly identified the color of the car that was being towed as silver.

When NHP troopers went to Despain’s house, they found heavy damage to the front right of the vehicle, and matched yellow paint on the vehicle to the bright yellow safety vest and pants worn by Billote.

Despain was due in court Tuesday, but did not appear because of a medical issue. She is due back at that end of the month.

Charges against Despain include failure to stop at the scene of a crash involving death, a felony. She also faces a felony charge of violation of probation, and two misdemeanors for failing to maintain a lane and failure to move to the left while passing an authorized emergency vehicle.

The crash occurred around 7:47 p.m. on Tuesday. NHP Trooper Travis Smacka said the suspect vehicle was traveling westbound on I-215 approaching Jones. The vehicle drifted into the right shoulder, striking both the tow truck driver and his vehicle.

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