Scott Gragson, a prominent real estate broker facing felony DUI charges in a fatal crash, tells police he consumed four or five beers and tequila shots and lost control of his vehicle in newly released evidence presented to the Clark County grand jury.
Gragson, grandson of former Las Vegas Mayor Oran Gragson, also doesn’t appear to know at least some of the people in the car with him. He repeatedly asks, “Is that girl all right?” apparently referring to crash victim Melissa Newton, the police body camera video shows.
“I was driving up the hill I got loose and I hit a tree and come over the side,” Gragson, seated on a rock, tells Metropolitan Police Department officer Corey Staheli after he approaches Gragson in the upscale Summerlin neighborhood.
Gragson’s attorney, David Chesnoff, said the full story of what happened May 30 will come out in court.
“The grand jury is a one-sided law enforcement presentation and Mr. Gragson will defend himself in the two-sided case which is called a trial,” he said, declining further comment.
The Clark County District Attorney’s office and Las Vegas police spokespeople declined comment.
Gragson was driving his Range Rover home after a golf tournament when he crashed the SUV, killing Newton and injuring other passengers, according to police and court records. A grand jury indicted him last week on eight counts of driving under the influence resulting in death, driving under the influence resulting serious bodily harm, and reckless driving.
Video from the entry gate into the neighborhood shows him arguing with the guard because he wants her to allow other cars to follow him to his home. But the guard insists on getting the people checked in before they are allowed to enter.
“In 13 years I’ve never had this happen,” he tells the guard before peeling off. “Thirteen years.”
The video from a resident’s security camera shows the vehicle crash on a median and Gragson running away. He comes back and appears to be standing over a person in the street.
Photos of the survivors, also entered as grand jury exhibits, show severe injuries.
In the video, Gragson fumbles for his identification and cannot tell the officer who was in his vehicle with him.
“Two or three girls, they jumped in the back and we drove up the hill,” he said. Along with Newton, Christie Cobbett and Christopher Bentley were in the back seat of the Gragson’s vehicle, and another passenger rode in front.
Gragson appears to fail sobriety tests as the officer repeatedly admonishes him to follow his finger, and he cannot stand on one foot while counting for more than a few seconds. When the officer asks him to walk toe to heel, Gragson says, “I’m going to fall over left and right.”
Throughout the 21-minute body camera video, Gragson repeatedly asks about whether a girl, apparently Newton, is all right.
“Is that girl all right, promise me,” he said. “I just want to make sure she’s all right.”
After he is arrested on suspicion of DUI, an officer tells him the truth.
“Sir I’m going to tell you that it’s, it’s not good,” unidentified officer says on the video.
Despite the incident, a University Medical Center nurse testifies Gragson was in good spirits.
“He was inappropriately jovial because he didn’t understand the impact yet,” Andrea Perera told the grand jury this month. “He didn’t seem to grasp — like he knew he was in a car accident but he didn’t seem to grasp like the impact of that. And he cracked a joke; I don’t remember what it was.”
But she did not believe Gragson had any ill intent.
“It was my general opinion that he was probably a very kind person that made a horrible mistake,” she said.
Others told the grand jury they did not see Gragson stumbling around and did not know how much he drank at the charity golf event where a substantial amount of alcohol and food was available to golfers.