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Bail set for DUI suspect in crash that killed 2 at Las Vegas bus stop

Updated April 18, 2024 - 8:24 pm

A wrong-way, speeding DUI suspect smashed her car into an east Las Vegas bus stop Wednesday night, killing two pedestrians and leaving three others with serious to life-threatening injuries, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

A 42-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy died at the scene, while two children and a woman were rushed to University Medical Center, police wrote in a news release.

Police identified the suspect as Cynthia Phelps, 64.

She was booked into the Clark County Detention Center, on five felony counts each of DUI and reckless driving causing death. She was also cited on suspicion of driving on the wrong side of the road, records show.

In a court hearing Thursday afternoon, Clark County prosecutors and Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Rebecca Saxe laid out the accusations that led to Phelps’ arrest.

Authorities alleged Phelps was heading north in the southbound lanes of Boulder Highway at about 20 mph over the 45 mph speed limit.

Her Kia sedan crashed into a pole and traffic cones before the car careened into a bus stop near Dalhart Street, striking the five pedestrians who were either waiting for a bus or walking at about 7:37 p.m., authorities said.

The Regional Transportation Commission bus shelter is located south of East Sahara Avenue.

A 41-year-old woman was hospitalized in critical condition, while the two minors, ages 8 and 11, were listed in serious condition, police said.

Bail set

Saxe set bail at $500,000 with stringent conditions if Phelps were to post bond.

Phelps didn’t speak in court, but her public defender asked for no bail, arguing that she has lived in Las Vegas for 25 years and had no prior alcohol or drug-related offenses.

Phelps, a widow with no children, supplements her social security benefits by working at a warehouse a few hours a week, and has no one to take care of her pet cat, the attorney said.

The Clark County coroner’s office had not identified the fatal victims as of Thursday afternoon.

M.J. Maynard, the transportation commission’s CEO, wrote in a statement that the agency was collaborating with Las Vegas police “as this investigation is ongoing.”

“Our hearts are heavy knowing that our community lost two individuals last night and others were injured,” Maynard said. “There are no words to describe this senseless tragedy, as the driver was allegedly impaired and driving the wrong way at a high rate of speed. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims’ families, and we wish all involved a quick recovery.”

At the fatal crash scene Thursday morning, there were few indications that a tragedy had occurred at the bus stop the previous night.

A bouquet of flowers was tied to a light post, and two religious candles sat by the metal bus stop bench. A couple of bollards behind the seats were bent. Lines painted by police apparently marked the car’s trajectory, and a small shoe lay near what appeared to be dry blood in a parking lot.

The deaths pushed the total number of traffic-related fatalities investigated by Metro this year to 50.

Phelps is next due in court Tuesday morning.

Past bus stop crashes

April 2023: A pickup truck drove onto a Henderson sidewalk and hit a bus stop enclosure and a pedestrian, killing him.

April 2019: Two people were hospitalized after a car crashed into a bus stop in the northwest valley.

February 2017: A car crashed into a bus stop and injured one person on East Sahara Avenue.

February 2016: A man in a wheelchair died after a sedan crashed into a bus stop on West Lake Mead Boulevard.

October 2013: A car crashed into a bus stop on Decatur Boulevard near Washington Avenue, causing minor injuries.

September 2012: Four people were killed and eight were injured after a vehicle plowed through a city bus stop at the intersection of Decatur Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Review-Journal digital content producer Marvin Clemons contributed to this story.

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