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Gragson told Las Vegas police he drank before deadly crash

Updated June 3, 2019 - 5:09 pm

Scott Gragson, a prominent Las Vegas real estate broker and the grandson of a former mayor, started drinking alcohol at a charity golf event hours before he crashed his SUV, killing a 36-year-old woman and injuring three other people, according to a police report obtained Monday.

Moments before the Thursday afternoon wreck that left Melissa Newton dead, the 53-year-old Gragson had rolled up to the security gate of The Ridges community in his Range Rover, smelling of alcohol, his arrest report said.

He told the guard, who reported that Gragson was “verbally aggressive” with slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, that he was headed to an “after party” and wanted the guard to allow vehicles behind him through the gate without checking in. Another witness told police that she had attended a charity golf event with Gragson that day.

Then he “accelerated south on Granite Ridge Drive at a high rate of speed, not slowing,” the report said.

Police responded to a crash about 4:50 p.m. at the intersection of Granite Ridge and Grey Feather drives, near Flamingo Road and Town Center Drive.

Gragson was charged with DUI resulting in death, two counts of DUI resulting in significant bodily harm and three counts of reckless driving resulting in death or significant bodily harm.

His attorney, David Chesnoff, told the Review-Journal on Monday, “Police reports are not evidence, and the facts of the case will be tested in court.”

Home surveillance video showed Gragson climb out of the Range Rover after the crash and rush to one victim’s side, before pulling a large tree branch off another, the report said. Officers found him sitting on a rock on the side of the road.

He later admitted to police that he started drinking about 9 a.m., consuming “four to five mixed drinks” and Coors beer before 2 p.m., the report said.

He failed field sobriety tests and was taken to University Medical Center, where his blood was first drawn at 8:18 p.m., the report added. Blood alcohol content results were not available Monday.

Newton was one of three back-seat passengers who were ejected when the Range Rover crashed into a row of trees in the Summerlin neighborhood. She died at the scene from extensive blunt force injuries, the Clark County coroner’s office said, and her death was ruled an accident.

The other two back-seat passengers, a 50-year-old man and 46-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries. Gragson suffered minor injuries, as did a 44-year-old front-seat passenger.

The grandson of former Mayor Oran Gragson owns a home in the neighborhood and has been freed on $250,000 bail. As conditions of his bail, Gragson was ordered to surrender his passport and not drink alcohol.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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