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Police: Zaon Collins was driving 88 mph before fatal crash

A police analysis of a vehicle driven by UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins indicates the car was traveling 88 mph in a 35 mph zone just seconds prior to a fatal crash last week.

Las Vegas Justice Court records also show Collins, 19, has been cited four times for traffic violations, including two for speeding, since 2017. However, he currently has only one speeding conviction on file with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, according to DMV records.

Collins is expected to appear in Justice Court on Thursday morning to learn whether Clark County prosecutors will pursue charges of driving while impaired and reckless driving in the Dec. 30 crash that killed Eric Echevarria, 52. Collins’ attorneys, Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff, said no criminal charges had been filed as of Wednesday.

“Until charges are actually filed and a thorough investigation has been conducted, people should not rush to judgment,” the attorneys said in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Police said Echevarria, of Las Vegas, was attempting to make a left turn when his 2016 Hyundai Accent was struck by Collins’ 2016 Dodge Challenger near Fort Apache Road and Blue Diamond Road. Echevarria was pronounced deceased at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Collins, a star basketball player at Bishop Gorman High School and the top recruit of this year’s UNLV class, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and reckless driving causing death. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure ordered Collins released from jail Thursday on “the highest level” of electronic monitoring and ordered him not to drive and to abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Police said in his arrest report that they found a green leafy substance in his Challenger and that Collins exhibited signs “which were consistent with being under the influence of marijuana.”

A separate police impaired driving report for Collins released by the Justice Court this week contends Collins “admitted to using marijuana this pas(t) Saturday but stated he did not drink anything or use any other drugs.”

Police also said in the documents they obtained a warrant to examine the Challenger’s airbag control module, which helps law enforcement determine what speed the vehicle was traveling at the time of the crash.

“The data indicated that the Dodge was traveling at approximately 88 mph in a posted 35 mph speed zone two seconds before colliding into the 2016 Hyundai,” police said.

In December 2017, Collins was cited for failure to pay full attention to driving, according to court records. In September 2018, he was cited for driving 21 to 30 mph over the posted speed limit and proof of insurance required. In November 2018, he was cited for basic speeding of 21 mph or more over the posted limit. In June, he was cited for driving the wrong way on one-way road.

The traffic offenses were all resolved with the paying of fees and or the completion of traffic school or other court requirements.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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