weather icon Drizzle
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Man gets probation for street racing crash that killed 2

Updated January 26, 2023 - 4:28 pm

A man accused of street racing that led to a crash that left two dead was sentenced to probation on Thursday.

Jovani Monarrez Tavizon, 28, pleaded guilty in September to a felony charge of reckless driving in connection with the fatal crash on May 24 near Jones Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.

According to an arrest report, Monarrez Tavizon was driving a Dodge Charger and racing with a Chevrolet Corvette when the Corvette crashed, killing both people inside.

During a court hearing on Thursday, District Judge Christy Craig sentenced Monarrez Tavizon to probation not to exceed three years.

“It seems clear that the other parties participated in the speed contest as well, and that kind of behavior is a danger to all of us,” Craig said.

Priscila Velasquez and Jason Qahhaar, both 34, were in the Corvette and both died from their injuries. The Metropolitan Police Department said Qahhaar was driving 106 mph when the Corvette hit a median and took out a NV Energy power pole. Monarrez Tavizon was driving the Charger at 88 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Monarrez Tavizon told police he worked with Velasquez and Qahhaar, and the group was celebrating a birthday at a cannabis store nearby before the race, according to the police report.

Defense attorney Marc Saggese said Qahhaar, who was driving the Charger, pushed the vehicle too far before the crash, and that the race started after Qahhaar called Monarrez Tavizon’s Charger a “piece of garbage.”

“I don’t want to minimize my client’s participation in a speed contest, but these are the facts,” Saggese said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Chad Lexis emphasized the potential consequences of street racing.

“People who decide to engage in speed contests should expect to face felony charges if somebody gets hurt,” Lexis said.

Monarrez Tavizon addressed the judge during the sentencing hearing on Thursday, and apologized to the victims’ families.

“I truly am sorry that one decision caused so much hurt and pain,” Monarrez Tavizon said.

Qahhaar’s wife, Sequoia Dobbins, said their young daughter still wakes up from nightmares, calling for her dad. She asked the judge for Monarrez Tavizon to serve jail time for his role in the crash.

“He can go home and enjoy life after, after all this is over,” Dobbins said.

Jose Velasquez, Priscila Velasquez’s sister, had also asked the judge for Monarrez Tavizon to spend time behind bars. He said his two nieces have lost their main provider because of their mother’s death.

“He shouldn’t be given leniency at all,” Jose Velasquez told the judge. “He should have stopped, he didn’t stop.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.