Couple killed in crash mourned


The first date for Louis Madden and Karen Hicks didn't exactly go as planned, daughter Meagan Madden recalled.

It was about five years ago, she said. Her father, who had spent 40 years working in the casino industry, was a floor supervisor at Mandalay Bay. Hicks was working as a dealer. He asked her out. She said yes.

But, then ...

"He stood her up," said Madden, 25, a Las Vegas resident. "Lucky for him, she forgave him. They went on that first date and had been together ever since."

Her father and Hicks, both 65, were together at 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, driving back from lunch to their Henderson home, where they had plans to meet a few family members.

They weren't far from home -- only about a block or two, Meagan estimated -- when police say 19-year-old Anita Mann slammed her car into the back of their Hyundai Santa Fe, sending the vehicle rolling into the desert off Horizon Ridge Parkway at Shaded Canyon Drive, near Gibson Road.

Hicks, the passenger, was thrown from the vehicle. Madden was trapped inside. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Mann had a blood alcohol level of 0.267, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08, according to Henderson police.

Officers noticed a strong odor of an "unknown intoxicant" on her breath, the arrest report states. She was slurring her speech, and her eyes were bloodshot.

"She stated that she had been drinking, stating that she was drunk and should be taken to jail," the report states.

Mann had also rear-ended another vehicle shortly before the fatal collision, police say. The driver of that vehicle called police and said a woman fled the scene of an accident and appeared to be falling asleep at the wheel.

Mann is being held at the Henderson Detention Center on two counts of driving under the influence resulting in death, failing to report an accident to police and leaving the scene of an accident.

Mann's father, Mercury Mann of Henderson, said the family is in shock.

She is a "model daughter," he said, who consistently earned A and B grades at the College of Southern Nevada, and was a Nevada Army National Guard soldier in the 100th Quartermaster Company, which specializes in water purification. She worked as a supply clerk.

"She takes her responsibilities seriously," Mercury Mann said. "She was driving 3½-plus years, and bought and paid cash for her car."

Mann said he had no idea why his daughter, who was living at home, would have gotten behind the wheel after consuming a large amount of alcohol, or why she had been drinking that morning.

He has spoken to his daughter only a few times since the accident, he said, and he still doesn't know the answers.

"I don't know how I'm going to be able to survive or recover from this," he said. "Our daughter meant everything to our family."

Meagan Madden said her family, which includes her older sister and younger brother, as well as Hicks' daughter, hasn't yet processed the details of their father's death.

Today is the funeral, but there's no cloud of anger or hate looming over the arrangements -- there's just sadness, she said, as the family tries to celebrate their lives and forget about their deaths.

"We're just really focusing on our dad right now," said Madden. "Once things get situated, maybe then we'll progress to that."

Madden said that as much as the family loved their father, they also loved Hicks, who was an "amazing woman" they thought of as a stepmother, not their father's girlfriend.

The hardest part of losing a family member so suddenly is that there's no time to prepare for the grief, she said.

"When people are sick, you can kind of get into that mind-set to prepare yourself that they're leaving," she said.

"You think it's exaggerated in the movies, when someone falls to their knees after they get that phone call. It's not. I just fell. It feels like the life is sucked out of you."

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

 

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