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Man crashed into casino wall, faces new DUI after 2003 crash left 3 dead

Updated January 25, 2024 - 7:27 pm

A man arrested Monday on a DUI charge, more than 20 years after his conviction in a high-profile fatal DUI crash, was found behind the wheel of a burning vehicle that had crashed into a wall at the M Resort, according to an arrest report.

Sean Larimer, who was convicted as a juvenile in a 2003 crash that left three teenagers dead, has another active DUI case in Las Vegas Justice Court in connection with an August arrest, court records show. He pleaded guilty in December to a misdemeanor DUI count and was scheduled to appear for a sentencing hearing Thursday.

Instead of formally sentencing Larimer on Thursday, Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure delayed the hearing after learning about Larimer’s recent arrest and 2003 juvenile conviction, the details of which were first publicized this week.

“I did receive before court a media request, in fact we have media here on this case today, and I did inquire from the parties what the interest was,” Bonaventure said at the start of Thursday’s hearing.

Bonaventure said that a routine court evaluation done before he was to sentence Larimer made it appear as if the Las Vegas case was Larimer’s first DUI charge. The judge ordered a new evaluation for Larimer, and said he will be placed on electronic monitoring starting Thursday and will not be allowed to drive for any reason.

“Mr. Larimer, you’re very lucky to be walking out of the courtroom today,” Bonaventure said.

Larimer declined to speak with a reporter following the hearing.

Found sitting in car on fire

His arrest on Monday came after police received a report that a car had crashed into a wall and was on fire at the M Resort, at 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. South, according to a police report.

When the officer arrived in the casino’s parking lot, he found a vehicle that recently had been on fire, with Larimer still behind the wheel. The car had been driven over a curb, through landscaping and into a 5-foot-tall concrete wall, the report said.

“I attempted to speak with the driver and his speech was very slow, slurred, and incoherent,” the officer wrote in the report.

Larimer “could not answer” when the officer asked if he knew where he was, and he could not “coherently” tell the officer his address, the report said.

He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and driving with a revoked license, which had been suspended due to his arrest in August, the report said.

When Larimer pleaded guilty in December in the Las Vegas case, he had agreed to a 30-day suspended jail sentence, DUI traffic school and community service. Bonaventure noted that the court evaluation recommended that he sentence Larimer to the “minimum requirements.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Eric Bauman said that he was “not satisfied” with the results of the evaluation, and he requested that Larimer be recommended to a treatment program. He said the allegations from Larimer’s arrest on Monday are “quite concerning.”

“I would submit that no one in this courtroom knows better the serious potential consequences of driving under the influence than the defendant,” Bauman said.

Larimer’s public defender, Max Berkley, told the judge that he did not oppose Larimer being subjected to a treatment program.

‘The die was cast’

Following Thursday’s hearing, Bauman said that Larimer’s prior conviction and recent arrest will have little effect on his sentence beyond the treatment program and alcohol monitoring. He said that all juveniles records, including Larimer’s conviction following the 2003 fatal crash, do not show up in the routine court evaluations. Juvenile convictions also cannot be used to increase sentence lengths in future cases.

“When the decision was made to treat him as a juvenile back then, the die was cast,” Bauman said.

Larimer was 15 when he caused the fatal crash on Nov. 10, 2003, which killed three of his friends, Travis Dunning, Josh Perry and Kyle Poff, who were all also 15. The crash also injured 15-year-old Cody Fredericks. Larimer and his friends had been given 30 containers of beer bought at a 7-Eleven store by a 20-year-old before the crash.

His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.19 percent, more than double the legal limit in Nevada, and he had been driving 80 mph in a 25 mph zone before crashing into a wall in a Henderson neighborhood. Police determined that the teens had attended a party before the crash and were not wearing seat belts while in the vehicle.

Larimer had also worked as the assistant coach for the College of Southern Nevada’s Coyotes baseball team for nine years, before leaving the program after the 2020-21 season. He served as an undergraduate assistant baseball coach at UNLV in 2010 and coached the Green Valley High School team from 2007 to 2012.

Bonaventure ordered Larimer to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court again on Feb. 22.

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

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