Local News


Tom Collins on DUI plea, his political future

Posted at 1:18 AM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 10:06:09-05
For the first time since his arrest on DUI charges, former Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins sat down with Action News.  
The 65 year-old pleaded no contest Tuesday to a drunken driving charge associated with a crash last month. He said he's still planning on running for mayor of North Las Vegas in 2017.  
"I broke the law and I admitted it," said Collins. 
Prosecutors said Collins's blood-alcohol level, 0.11, was above the legal limit of 0.08.
"I like to drink but I know that I will not go anywhere without a driver," he said. 
Collins said he completed a DUI school and victim impact panel.  
"I learned from that so much," said Collins of the program. "Everybody before they get a driver's license should see that."
The crash happened Dec. 11 at the intersection of Koval Lane and Flamingo Road.  
"I hit a red car that had hit a white car," said Collins.
The former Democratic state lawmaker was leaving the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"I made my usual rounds, had a couple of drinks," said Collins. "The difference was I felt so bad, I hadn't eaten since breakfast, I had the flu."
That he said, plus another driver contributed to the wreck that left at least one injured.
"The guy in front who jerked over into the middle lane is probably as much responsible as anybody," he said.  
Action News asked Collins to respond to critics who may say he's not fit to be mayor.  
"I say there's bigger crooks who run the city of North Las Vegas than I've ever been," he said.  
Collins said he doesn't think the plea will prevent folks from voting for him.
"I am on this earth to make it a better place to help people have a better way of life," he said. 
Proof that the so-called "cowboy commissioner" is resilient:  two incidents in 2012.
First, neighbors called police after Collins fired his pistol on his property.  
"I got over exuberant on Independence Day," he said.
There were no charges in that case.
About a month later, a bull escaped from his yard, injuring a neighbor.
"The girl that got hurt in the incident owned two of the eleven bulls that were back here," he said. 
Despite that, Collins said he won his election by a landslide.
"There's got to be 200,000 people in this community with DUIs," he said. "It's the way the law is structured, who cares, I want somebody to serve me that cares about me."
Collins said he may even consider a run for governor.  
"There's not a Democrat in Nevada that I've seen that knows all of Nevada better than me," he said.
In August, Collins resigned from the commission, citing family matters.
Collins also discussed the armed standoff at a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon.
"The federal government has allowed environmentalist and nonprofit-funded idiots to dictate how we should best manage our lands," he said.
While Collins agrees with the stance of the Bundy rebellion, he states their tactics are illegal.  
The former commissioner addressed the recent resignation of the Boulder City police chief as well.  
"Bill Conger is probably a more honorable person than all of the Boulder City elected officials combined," he said.