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CONTACT 13: Officials respond to CCSD cover-up

Posted at 10:45 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 02:55:14-04

School district cops have covered up potential crimes at the expense of taxpayers and grieving parents.

It all stemmed from a booze-fueled bash that led to a deadly DUI crash. 

The teenage driver went to prison, but Contact 13 looks at the people he was partying and drinking with before he got behind the wheel.

"I have a daughter too. She's 15. And I don't know what I would do if I lost her," said former Clark County School Police Dispatcher Dan Deresotes. "I feel terrible. I still feel terrible."

Angela Peterson's parents know that feeling. 

In 2009, they lost their only child -- an honor student ready to graduate from UNLV. Her life cut short by 18-year-old Kevin Miranda, who was driving drunk when he ran a red light at Flamingo Road and Rainbow Boulevard. 


"Hopefully somebody will see this is horribly, horribly wrong and will reopen this case and prosecute these people for the murder of our daughter," said Linda Peterson. "She was murdered!"

Kevin Miranda is behind bars. 

But the Petersons say he's far from the only one responsible for their daughter's death. 

Dan Deresotes agrees.

"I'm not saying that these are bad people, but what they did was terrible...  was inexcusable."

Breaking his silence for the first time, Deresotes is talking about a group of former coworkers from the Clark County School District Police Department -- those who created a flyer for the 2009 holiday party that started it all.

"It was given to everybody in the department. It was put out in our break room."

School police officers, dispatchers and about 20 underage kids were all at that party. After a night of drinking and beer pong, records show Miranda drove and killed Angela Peterson.

"We were threatened -- if you talk, you might as well forget about this job."

Deresotes was eventually fired for an unrelated incident. 

He wasn't at the party, but wanted to talk to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department after learning what went on.

Darcy: Would you say they made it impossible for Metro to conduct a thorough outside investigation?
Dan: Oh yeah, by all means.

Court records show then-police Chief Filiberto Arroyo and then-Capt. James Ketsaa pointed fingers at each other for dropping the ball in giving information to LVMPD. 

Whether Ketsaa himself was at the party remains unclear. Multiple witnesses say he was, but he disputes that.

What is clear is that he knew what went on, but said it wasn't his call to make sure something was done about it. 

In Ketsaa's deposition, he's asked if he told Metro about one of the dispatchers who was at the party.

Marc Cook/Peterson family attorney: When you found that out, did you turn that information over to Metro?
James Ketsaa: No.
Cook: Why not?
Ketsaa: Because I didn't.

Ketsaa is now the school police chief.  

Darcy Spears: It sounds like the good guys turned into the bad guys.
Dan Deresotes: Yeah. That's true. That's absolutely true.

In court records, school police dispatcher and party host Rebecca Wamsley said she "wanted justice to be done, but failed to explain why she did not provide any information to the police." 

And Officer Mark Robbins said he "was concerned he was being looked at for lying in his interview with the police."  

"All the named defendants and possibly more that I never got the information to name were involved in an immediate cover up to prevent the police from doing any investigation," said Cook.

The Petersons pursued the only avenue of justice they could find -- in civil court. 

The school district spent more than $700,000 tax dollars fighting the Petersons. 

Last year, the district settled for $75,000 more tax dollars, denying any wrongdoing.


The remaining defendants were dispatchers Tina Zuniga and Cynthia Ruelas and Officer Mark Robbins. 

They settled their individual cases in March. 

In the court documents, they admit the facts that could've been proven in trial include drinking with teens, playing beer pong and covering the whole thing up.

"Where should things be headed now?" Spears asked Attorney Marc Cook.

"I think that school board that we all get to vote on should maybe do their job and take a look at this and read these documents and you can only come to one conclusion once you do that," he said. "People have to get fired. You can't have people watching over your kids if they're the same people that will drink with kids or the same people that when they hear about somebody drinking with kids they will cover it up for them.

"They have had the ability to go through and clean house and I don't understand why they haven't, but most of these people after this happened got promoted! And I mean the people involved in the cover-up and at the party. And they're still there."

We reached out to the entire school board, district administration and school police.

No one would agree to go on camera.

Of the people at the party, only Cynthia Ruelas -- who no longer works for the school district -- returned our calls to say she's put this behind her and has no comment. 

We've also confirmed LVMPD is not investigating.

"We've always suspected that even though they're different departments, it's cops protecting cops. Or maybe it's lazy cops," Cook said. "I don't know, but for me what happened was horrifying," Cook said.

Linda Peterson added, "If it would've been a cop's kid that got killed that night, heads would've rolled."

Though no one from the school district would go on camera, they did send email saying they took no action because LVMPD did not report any concern regarding the district or its employees.

LVMPD sent Contact 13 this statement:

"The 2011 investigation into witness tampering and conspiracy to conceal criminal acts ceased when the federal lawsuit was filed because all the employees/witnesses then refused to answer questions. The only other crimes being investigated were misdemeanors and the statute of limitations has expired on them."