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Breaking the deadly trend of DUI crashes in Las Vegas

Posted at 11:42 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 02:54:24-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Traffic officials say the narrative in tackling DUI drivers is increasing the type of charges drivers will face, including second-degree murder.

Many 13 Action News viewers expressed outrage in comments on our Facebook page following a DUI crash over the weekend that killed two people. Some said they were hoping for long jail time and a higher bail amount set for the suspect, and many asked when enough will be enough.

Despite warnings from Las Vegas valley law enforcement agencies and the Nevada DUI Strike Team, which has arrested hundreds of suspected DUI drivers, it seems these deadly crashes just keep happening.

“We have to see these cases through,” says Andrew Bennett with the Nevada Office of Public Safety.

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Bennett says a big part of enforcement isn’t just warning drivers ahead of time, it’s now shifting towards prosecution.

He says that trend started last year, following a horrific DUI crash in August of 2018.

That's when a woman who police say had four times the legal limit of marijuana in her system plowed through a red light at Harmon and Eastern.

That crash killed 8-year-old Levi Echenique and injured his parents.

The driver pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

“We’re looking at 25 years to life instead of 2 to 20, and that’s a really big step up,” says Bennett.

Bennett hopes that stiff prosecution for these drivers will continue and says one of the only things that can comfort the families of DUI crash victims is the pursuit of justice.

“So we should be looking towards the fullest extent of the law to be prosecuting these cases,” says Bennett.