LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Preventing deadly crashes on our roads is top of mind for law enforcement and local officials, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in his annual State of the Department speech on on Wednesday.
Las Vegas has seen a recent rise in the number of fatal crashes, and a mother who lost her son because of a speeding driver says people need to be more aware on the road.
“Nobody expects to lose their 12-year-old son who left that morning perfectly healthy, happy and fine," Susan Smith said.
Smith is still processing the devastating loss of her son Jonny, who died after being hit by a speeding car in southwest Las Vegas in 2019.
“It didn’t have to happen. It was absolutely preventable,” she said.
She says way too many people who get behind the wheel are either impaired or driving too fast.
“Every day I get on the road and somebody is flying around everybody, and speed is most definitely a problem in this valley,” Smith said.
Lombardo also sees a problem. He says there was an 8% increase in fatal crashes last year. The nonprofit Pedsafe says there have been about 30 deaths from crashes already this year in Clark County — a rate that’s ahead of last year.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, an unaware person, all of a sudden, they lose their life because of somebody else’s actions that they didn’t intend to be involved with,” Lombardo said.
Smith isn’t surprised by the rise.
“People somehow think they aren’t going to be the one who causes that," she said. "I never thought I would be the one whose son got hit and killed coming home from school."
The memories of losing Jonny motivate her to tell others to think before deciding to put their pedal to the metal.
“Slow down. You’re not going to get there any faster, and you’re not going to impress anybody sitting behind bars,” Smith said.
With Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl weekend coming up, expect to see more police patrolling the roads and, of course, don’t speed or drink and drive.