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Zaon Collins, charged in fatal DUI case, gets another delay

Updated April 6, 2023 - 7:24 pm

A preliminary hearing for former UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins was delayed again Thursday, more than two years after he was accused of a deadly DUI crash that left a 52-year-old man dead.

Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for June 1.

“I would expect the matter should go forward or be otherwise resolved at the next court date,” Bonaventure said.

Collins, who was 19 at the time of the Dec. 30, 2020, incident, was driving his 2016 Dodge Challenger at nearly 90 mph in a 35 mph zone when he crashed into Eric Echevarria’s car, the Metropolitan Police Department has said.

Criminal proceedings were significantly delayed while defense attorneys argued that Collins’ DUI charge was based on an unconstitutional state law regarding driving while under the influence of marijuana.

The Nevada Supreme Court denied the petition in November, and the case was set to go forward with a preliminary hearing on Thursday, when Bonaventure was to determine if there was enough evidence for Collins to stand trial. Instead, the preliminary hearing was delayed, and a new private defense attorney is now representing Collins.

Attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld were representing Collins through the petition with the Supreme Court, but Collins filed paperwork last week to replace his defense team with attorney Frank Kocka.

Kocka and Collins’ previous defense team declined to comment Thursday about the change in attorneys.

Police have said that Collins, a former Bishop Gorman High standout who had been recruited to UNLV by former coach T.J. Otzelberger, had 3 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in his system at the time of the crash. Chesnoff and Schonfeld have argued that the level of THC was so low that Collins could have consumed the marijuana days before the crash. The legal limit for drivers in Nevada at the time of the crash was 2 nanograms per milliliter, which defense attorneys have argued is an arbitrary amount.

Collins remains out of custody on bail.

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

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