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'Rex's law' could dramatically increase reckless driving penalties in Nevada

Rex Patchett vigil
Posted at 9:41 PM, Mar 07, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A reckless driver hit and killed 13-year-old Rex Patchett while traveling more than 90 miles per hour outside of Jack and Terry Mannion Middle School on March 7, 2022.

A year to the day after Rex's death, his father James continued carrying his legacy forward to ensure no other parent loses a child.

At a candlelight vigil for Rex on Tuesday, James was surrounded by more than 100 friends, family members, and people from the community to support his calls for change.

"Rex, I love you bud," James said in front of a makeshift memorial for him. "I miss you. I hope you're proud of us because we're proud of you."

James said he wants Rex's story to help increase minimum and maximum sentences for a reckless driver causing death after the man who killed his son, then 21-year old Jose Marmolejo, was sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed under law of up to six years in prison.

"Unfortunately, we live in a world where this happens weekly," James said. "I can't sit back here and let that be the case for the next family who has to get the news that their loved ones were killed."

Ahead of the 2023 legislative session, James contacted his local legislators Senator Jeff Stone, (R) District 20, and Assemblyman Toby Yurek, (R) District 19, for help.

"It pressed on my heart," Yurek said. "I thought I need to do something."

The pair have been drafting a bill to increase sentences to reckless driving causing death to a minimum of ten years in prison up to a maximum of 20 years with an extra seven years if the crime occurred within a school or construction zone.

"It's a parent's worse nightmare, losing a child" Stone said. "But they've been very brave and they've come forward and that's why we wanted to name this bill Rex's law in his honor."

James said he recognized his son's bill had a long way to go before it had a shot at becoming law but he said he'll be supporting it as long as it takes.

"Through thick or thin, if this doesn't pass in this session, I'm here again in two years," he said. "My story never goes away. My tragedy never goes away."

Stone and Yurek said the bill needed to be reviewed by legal experts before it could officially be filed and receive an SB number.

Stone expected that to happen next week.