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Man accused in fatal DUI crash had previous fatal DUI crash, recent DUI arrest

Updated September 22, 2022 - 9:01 pm

An allegedly impaired driver suspected of causing a fatal crash Thursday had been out on bail from a DUI incident under the condition that he not drive and had spent years in prison after he killed a motorcyclist in 2012 while driving under the influence, records show.

Las Vegas police say Prentiss Bates, 50, swerved into oncoming traffic while driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee on Thursday just before 2:30 a.m.

After striking a median, the Jeep plowed into the front of a Chevrolet Avalanche that was parked in a coned-off construction zone on North Rancho Drive north of West Red Coach Avenue, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

The Avalanche driver, 40-year-old Las Vegas resident Demarr Sims, had been sitting in his vehicle when the Jeep crashed into it. He was taken to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.

“This completely preventable and senseless crash marks the 105th traffic-related death in our jurisdiction for 2022,” read a tweet posted by Metro on Thursday.

Bates remained at the scene of Thursday’s crash but showed signs of possible impairment, police said. He was examined at University Medical Center, found to have no injuries and was arrested.

Bates was out on $50,000 bail from a June incident in which he had been charged with DUI, court records show. As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered to not drive. He was also ordered to have alcohol and drug monitoring. Typically, such monitoring is intended to prevent the accused from consuming either alcohol or drugs, with authorities being notified if he does.

In November 2012, a motorcyclist was killed after a car driven by Bates struck him near Nellis Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue. Jim Edd Burchette, 58, of Las Vegas, died at the scene.

Bates was convicted of DUI causing death, according to Nevada Department of Corrections records. He was sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison, and at the time of his sentencing was credited for the 206 days he had already spent behind bars.

The estimated day of release was Jan. 13, 2022, according to NDOC records. It wasn’t clear when he was actually released.

According to court records, if Bates wanted to drive again, he would be required to have an ignition interlock device — essentially a breathalyzer that a driver must blow into before starting their car — installed on his vehicle for a minimum of 36 months. It wasn’t clear if his Jeep Grand Cherokee had such a device installed.

Bates was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, DUI resulting in death, reckless driving resulting in death and other charges in connection with Thursday’s crash, police said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com or 561-324-6421. Follow @BretClarkson_ on Twitter. Review-Journal Metro Intern Mark Credico contributed to this report.

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