Local News


NHP cruiser hit by suspected drunk driver on Nevada highway

Posted at 10:31 PM, Feb 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-02 19:03:28-04

UPDATE FEB. 19 1:30 P.M.: New video shows the moment a driver suspected of being impaired slammed into a Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle near U.S. 95 and Ann Road.

The officer suffered minor injuries in the crash, according to the NHP.

“I noticed a silver SUV coming straight at me," Trooper Adam Whitmarsh said.

Whitmarsh was also counting his blessings as he recalled those few moments he had to make a decision.

“Looking at it I was wondering what I was thinking that moment, but I was just shocked it just happened so fast,” he said.

However, Trooper Whitmarsh is no stranger to escaping tragedy.

In 2017, 13 Action News spoke with him about his heroic efforts on the night of 1 October running back into the festival to save more people after saving his friends.

“1 October was a little bit different, you figure out what is happening and process what is going on, and in this situation, there’s nothing you can do you feel helpless,” he said.

Impaired driving hits so close to home for Trooper Whitmarsh; he grew up without a father.

Whitmarsh was only two when he says a drunk driver killed his dad in a crash.

It’s part of the reason he’s a trooper today, so drivers who could have killed someone this weekend are off the road.

“We handle DUI drivers the most, its a subject that matters to state troopers, so from there it fueled me to become a trooper,” Whitmarsh said.

UPDATE FEB. 19 10:30 A.M.: Police have released the mug shot of 23-year-old Benjamin Perri, suspected of slamming into an Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle on Feb. 16 while at a traffic stop on northbound U.S. 95 near Ann Road.

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- A Nevada Highway Patrol officer suffered minor injuries after a driver suspected of being impaired slammed into his vehicle while at a traffic stop on northbound U.S. 95, just north of Ann Road, according to NHP officials.

The Honda CRV slammed into the back of the NHP cruiser, causing it to hit the vehicle the trooper had pulled over.

The trooper had been speaking to the driver of the vehicle that he had pulled over and was forced to jump out of the way to avoid serious injury.

“When troopers are out there they are literally watching everything that is going on  because we can’t depend on vehicles to stay in their travel lanes," says Jason Buratczuk.

The trooper involved, Adam Whitmarsh, is a true hero.

13 Action News interviewed him in 2017, just days after 1 October.

"When we saw people going down in front of us is when we knew this is serious," says Whitnarsh.

While off duty, he sprung into action on one of the Las Vegas Valley's darkest nights.

First, he made sure his friends got out safely.

"When you see people hiding behind things like chairs and things that aren't going to protect them. We need to get them moving."

But he didn’t stop there, he went back in to the Route 91 Festival to save complete strangers.

"I just turned around and went back, you just don't think."

Whether you call it luck or a blessing, there's one thing for sure there's no stopping Trooper Whitmarsh.

"He's got nine lives," says Buratczuk. "He's cheated death twice."
The driver of the Honda, 23-year-old Benjamin Perri, was arrested and booked on the DUI charges as well as reckless driving, fail to use due care, no seatbelt, fail to yield to an emergency vehicle and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.