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Truck driver gets 16 years in crash that killed 5 bicyclists


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Truck driver gets 16 years in crash that killed 5 bicyclists


Updated: June 09, 2021 08:40 PM
Created: June 09, 2021 08:28 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) - An Arizona box truck driver who plowed into bicyclists on a stretch of Nevada highway last December, killing five and injuring four, was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of 16 years in Nevada state prison for driving under the influence of methamphetamine causing death.

Jordan Alexander Barson, 45, of Kingman, Arizona, apologized Tuesday, during the first day of an emotional two-day sentencing hearing in Las Vegas, asking forgiveness as he spoke by video from the Clark County Detention Center, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. His attorney, Damian Sheets, said Barson did not intend to cause harm.

"Knowing I caused the deaths of five people and severely hurt two others is unbearable most of the time," Barson told the court. "I want you to know that I'm so truly sorry for what I've done. I know you will carry this pain forever, and it breaks my heart that I caused this."

Clark County District Court Judge Bita Yeager on Wednesday acknowledged Barson's remorse but stuck with the sentence agreed upon when he pleaded guilty in April to two counts of driving under the influence resulting in death.

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2020, file photo, Nevada Highway Patrol investigate the scene of a fatal crash involving multiple bicyclists and a box truck along U.S. Highway 95 southbound near Searchlight, Nev. The Arizona box truck driver who killed five bicyclists on a stretch of Nevada highway last December has been sentenced to at least 16 years in Nevada state prison. Jordan Barson, apologized and sought forgiveness Tuesday, June 8, 2021, during an emotional two-day sentencing hearing in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

AP

"You had no business driving," Yeager told him.

The judge paused, near tears, spoke the names of the five bicyclists and cited the effect of their deaths had on "mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren."

"Their lives are forever affected because of your poor choice," she said.

Killed were Las Vegas residents Erin Michelle Ray, 39, Gerrard Suarez Nieva, 41, Michael Todd Murray, 57, Aksoy Ahmet, 48, and Thomas Chamberlin Trauger, 57.

Bicyclists Jose Vasquez and Jerome Ducrocq were seriously injured.

The judge also ordered Barson to pay nearly $60,000 in restitution to victims.

Barson's plea deal avoided trial on 14 felony charges that could have kept him behind bars for the rest of his life if he was convicted.

Prosecutors said blood tests showed he had nine times the amount of methamphetamine in his system that would indicate impairment.

Barson, a commercial truck driver, wept after the Dec. 10 crash on U.S. 95 between Boulder City and Searchlight.

He told investigators he fell asleep at the wheel while driving his regular work route between Las Vegas, the Colorado River town of Bullhead City, Arizona, and Kingman.

The flat-faced truck plowed into bicyclists trailing a Subaru Outback support vehicle shielding them from headwind as a group of about 20 cyclists made an annual 130-mile ride from Las Vegas through scenic desert in Nevada and California

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Article I read said 40 years.

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Awful all around.  :(

Drugs, alcohol, cell phones, kids, and so many other distractions regularly contributing to pedestrians, cyclists, and other folks in vehicles getting killed.

Autonomous driving can't come soon enough.

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Sickening.  I think of Kazoo's experience out there with bicycles getting hit.  Every time we're out there we all know we are taking a chance and hedging out bets.  It doesn't matter how smart or wise you are -- you can't beat and intoxicated or careless driver.

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19 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

Riding on city streets and on highways is a very dangerous activity.  Probably not worth the risk.

Let’s get that infrastructure money flowing into bicycle routes with curbing to separate the autos from the cyclists. Everywhere bike designated paths, across states, interstate, intercity… 

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18 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

Riding on city streets and on highways is a very dangerous activity.  Probably not worth the risk.

Driving, being a passenger, cycling, running, walking, and likely scootering or rollerblading on streets open to vehicle traffic is surely a risky behavior.

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16 years is not enough. A minimum would be the sum of the years the 5 people would have lived to their natural life expectancy, plus 25% for the two severely injured riders.

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4 minutes ago, 2Far said:

16 years is not enough. A minimum would be the sum of the years the 5 people would have lived to their natural life expectancy, plus 25% for the two severely injured riders.

^^^^  This.

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2 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

Driving, being a passenger, cycling, running, walking, and likely scootering or rollerblading on streets open to vehicle traffic is surely a risky behavior.

Cycling on city streets and highways is many times more dangerous than driving on them.  My son was nearly killed when hit by a motorist, but under the same traffic conditions, if he had been in a car, he probably wouldn't have suffered a scratch.

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