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‘Heavily intoxicated’: Bail set for DUI suspect in Nevada trooper deaths

Updated December 1, 2023 - 4:33 pm

A 46-year-old man charged in the deaths of two Nevada Highway Patrol troopers had his bail set at $500,000 on Friday.

During a brief court appearance, Chief Deputy District Attorney Shanon Clowers said the driver, Jemarcus Williams, was “heavily intoxicated” at the Palms casino shortly before the crash. Security officers followed him out of the casino around 3 a.m. Thursday, and told Williams they would call the police if he got into his vehicle, she said.

Williams walked toward a sidewalk and hid behind a tree until security officers left the area, Clowers told Hearing Master Daniel Westmeyer, referencing an arrest report that had not been released by the Metropolitan Police Department as of Friday morning.

Clowers had asked for Williams to be held on a $1 million bail.

“Clearly he’s a flight risk,” she said. “He has the wherewithal even while intoxicated to hide from security so that he can get into his vehicle and endanger this entire community.”

Westmeyer instead set bail for Williams at $500,000. If Williams makes bail, Westmeyer said he would be placed on high-level electronic monitoring, drug and alcohol monitoring, and he would not be allowed to drive.

Authorities said Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Abbate and trooper Alberto Felix were struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early Thursday while assisting another motorist on northbound Interstate 15 near D street.

Williams faces two counts each of reckless driving resulting in death, DUI resulting in death and failing to stop at the scene of a crash.

The troopers had stopped on the highway at 3:23 a.m. to check on a motorist who appeared to be asleep at the wheel when another vehicle struck the troopers and drove away, according to Metro Deputy Chief Branden Clarkson.

One trooper died at the scene, Clarkson said, while the other was pronounced dead at University Medical Center.

A search for the suspect’s vehicle, described as a white Chevrolet HHR, led authorities to an apartment complex near J Street and Monroe Avenue, where Williams was taken into custody.

Clowers said that when police first spoke to Williams, the first thing he said was, “I didn’t kill him, you should be out there figuring out who did.”

Williams claimed that his friend was driving the vehicle, but he later admitted he was behind the wheel, Clowers said.

“He ultimately finally states, ‘It’s me, I f——- up, I was driving,’ ” she said.

Williams was charged with DUI in 2007 in Las Vegas, and pleaded no contest to the charge, court records show. Clowers said Friday that in the prior case, a police officer had to swerve off the road to avoid being hit by Williams.

“I understand the age of that prior, but the similarities are very poignant,” Clowers said.

Deputy Public Defender Marissa Pensabene had asked for Williams to either be released on high-level electronic monitoring or held on a $20,000 bail, which he could afford. She said Williams has lived in Las Vegas his entire life and has worked as a valet for 13 years.

Multiple family members attended court on Friday to support Williams. They declined to speak with reporters following the hearing.

Williams is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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