13 Investigates


13 Investigates: Powerful engines and poor decisions are a deadly combination

String of deadly, high-speed crashes in the Valley
Aftermath of fatal crash involving Henry Ruggs III
North Las Vegas crash photo - NLVPD
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Crash scene at Fort Apache and Furnace Gulf
Fatal McLaren crash 2019
Posted at 5:32 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 21:52:58-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Several deadly crashes in the Valley lately have been high-speed, high-profile, and involved high-performance cars. It's happened too many times to ignore.

13 Investigates shows how powerful engines and poor decisions can be a deadly combination.

Everyone who owns a vehicle pretty much has the ability to drive well over 100 miles per hour. A common car can reach 150 mph, according to the speedometer. Of course, most of us never consider using that "option."

But extreme speed is a common factor in a string of horrible, fatal accidents in the Valley recently. And many of the vehicles involved are clearly built for speed.

No one feels the lasting impact of a deadly crash more than those left behind.

"My daughter and her husband were just sitting at the stoplight at Sahara and Hualapai," said Diane Malone. "Just sitting there waiting for the light to change, and he rammed them at over 100 miles an hour."

"I can't be the grandparent or the parent that I should have been able to be...because it has just taken my heart and broken it to pieces," Malone said.

Malone lost her daughter and son-in-law in a high-speed DUI crash in May of 2018.

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Christa and Damaso Puente

For the Echevarria family, "It's insane!" says Ann Marie Echevarria. "You know? It's just insane."

Their world was forever changed in December of 2020.

"That kid was flying! And he hit the tail end of his car," Echevarria said.

Zaon Collins, a former UNLV basketball recruit, is currently facing charges in the death of Echevarria's husband, Eric.

"I look out the window all the time, all the time looking for...because his spot is right in front of the house," Echevarria said. "I just look out there, and the car's not there, and it's never coming back."

Crash scene at Fort Apache and Furnace Gulf
Debris and a memorial to the victim sit at the corner of Fort Apache Road and Furnace Gulf Avenue. Police have charged 19-year-old Zaon Collins, a star UNLV basketball recruit, with DUI causing death in a crash that killed CCSD custodian Eric Echevarria on Dec. 30, 2020.

Zaon Collins was driving 88 miles per hour in a residential 35-mph zone, according to court records. He was also driving a Dodge Challenger, the same model car Gary Dean Robinson drove in a high-speed crash in North Las Vegas that took nine lives.

More from 13 Investigates: Driver in deadly crash has extensive criminal history

13 Investigates: Driver in deadly North Las Vegas crash has extensive criminal history

Challengers are available from your local Dodge dealership with 300- to 800-horsepower engines.

Unfortunately, there were many other high-speed, horrific crashes in the past four years.

In the summer of 2019, Stanley Butler of Washington rented a bright green McLaren 570S. Butler was suspected of DUI and speeding.

He lost control of the 560-horsepower sports car, smashing through two block walls and striking a parked Toyota. A man sleeping in that Toyota was killed.

Fatal McLaren crash 2019
In June of 2019, a green McLaren hit a parked car at Pecos Road and Tropicana Avenue, killing a man inside the parked car.

In June of 2021, Andrew Rodriquez of El Paso plowed a Lamborghini Huracan into and killed a 58-year-old man on a moped.

Rodriquez was traveling at 141 miles per hour, according to the police report. That's nearly 100 miles per hour over the posted speed limit at the crash site near Russell Road and Rogers Street. The Lamborghini Huracan engine packs about 575 to a little over 600 horsepower.

MORE: Clark County commissioners taking a closer look at exotic car rentals

A blue performance car lost control on The Strip and landed in the median in September of last year. No injuries were reported, and rain might have been a factor.

But there was fatality that same month.

Connecticut police officer Robert Ferraro was charged with DUI after his passenger and fellow officer died in a rented Rolls Royce. Police say speed was also a factor in the crash at Spring Mountain Road. and Decatur Boulevard.

And former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was driving 156 miles per hour in his Corvette Stingray last November when he crashed into Tina Tintor's car. The Clark County Coroner determined Tintor burned to death following the crash.

Fatal crash Henry Ruggs charged 2021-11-02

The Stingray boasts a 490-horsepower engine.

Average full-sized sedans have about 200 to 280 horsepower.

And the biggest semi trucks out on the road, delivering up to 80,000 pounds of products — that's 40 tons — run on diesel engines that are 400 to 600 horsepower.

Remember, you can get a Dodge Challenger packed with an 800-horsepower engine — and that car only weighs a little over 4,000 pounds.

With a tiny fraction of the weight, but the same or more power of a Peterbilt, that means more speed.

And we all know: Speed kills.

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