13 Investigates


UPDATE: Accused DUI driver Scott Gragson being sued by passenger

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 08:45:28-04

UPDATE JUNE 12: Accused DUI driver Scott Gragson, 53, is being sued by one of his passengers.

The lawsuit was filed by 50-year-old Christopher Bentley, who is also an employee of Colliers International.

Gragson and his 4 passengers were at a charity event at a nearby golf course before the fatal crash. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the lawsuit alleges that “alcohol was served at numerous locations across the Bear’s Best golf course” and was served in the clubhouse, restaurant, kiosks and at each of the holes on the golf course.

Bentley joined Colliers as the executive vice president in the Multifamily Division in 2016.

From speeding tickets reduced to parking violations and a previous DUI reduced to reckless driving, Scott Gragson has been able to make the system work to his advantage.

Scott Russell Gragson is the grandson of a former Las Vegas mayor and the father of a NASCAR driver. He's wealthy, well-connected and influential. And now, he's an accused felon.

RELATED: Prominent businessman, father of NASCAR driver arrested for fatal DUI crash granted bail

This is the first time Gragson has faced felony DUI charges, but it's not his first DUI. Sources in the legal system with access to records confirm Gragson was charged with DUI alcohol in 2001. A misdemeanor first offense.

"Anybody who gets a misdemeanor DUI is very lucky because they haven't killed anybody yet. And they haven't injured anybody yet. They haven't destroyed lives yet. But eventually the luck runs out," said Sandy Heverly of Stop DUI.

Court records show back in 2001, after being charged with DUI alcohol, Gragson pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless driving. He was sentenced to DUI school and a victim impact panel and had to pay $560 in fines.

"Unfortunately, when that happens, I think people have a tendency to lose the seriousness of the crime," Heverly said.

We spoke to Heverly last August about drivers whose DUI charges have been reduced to reckless driving.

"When you're driving under the influence, you're a potential killer! And when you reduce it and make it so minimal it takes away the danger, it takes away the very strong message that we've been trying to get across to the driving public," she said.

Court sources and records also confirm in 2001, 2011, 2012 and 2016 Gragson had a total of five traffic violations -- several for speeding -- that were reduced to parking tickets. With help from attorneys, he was able to get the infractions reduced after attending traffic school.

Gragson's attorney David Chesnoff says his client has entered a not guilty plea in the current case and plans a vigorous defense in court. He dismisses discussion of prior cases as speculation.

13 Investigates has also learned from a knowledgeable source that Gragson was seen with a drink in his hand while behind the wheel at The Ridges guard gate, minutes before the deadly crash. Attorney Chesnoff said he hasn't seen the security video and doesn't comment outside of court on things that could be evidence.

There is already controversy surrounding some of the evidence, specifically how long it took to get a warrant to draw Gragson's blood. That's already resulted in a LVMPD captain being stripped of duty.

When the blood draw did happen three and a half hours after the crash, the Clark County District Attorney says Gragson had a blood alcohol content of .147, which went down to .12 an hour later. Our legal system source says if you do the math and extrapolate backward, it's reasonable to conclude he would have been .21 at the time of the crash, which is nearly three times the legal limit.

Source: Botched blood draw could be behind Las Vegas captain relieved of duty

"And there's no excuse! My gosh!" said Heverly. "For the last 35 years, the education, the awareness, the alternatives have been made available to people! There is no valid excuse for driving under the influence. I don't care who you are or who you think you are! There is none!"

Scott Gragson is out of jail on $250,000 bail. Conditions include surrendering his passport and alcohol monitoring. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for October 28.

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