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Reckless driving suspect back in custody after hourslong pursuit

A North Las Vegas man who was arrested on a reckless driving charge in July, moments after police had cited him for reckless driving and sent him on his way, is behind bars again.

This time he’s accused of trying to run over a state trooper in a stolen car.

Authorities arrested Jeffrey Hair on Jan. 4 in Laughlin after an hourslong pursuit that crossed into Bullhead City, Arizona. He faces numerous new charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, evading police, DUI and possession of methamphetamine.

But at the time of his arrest, he had a clean driving record, despite a history of traffic violations that were reduced to parking tickets, court records show.

“Somewhere along the line, people have got to get angry enough to start saying, ‘Why aren’t we holding these people accountable?’” UNLV Traffic Safety Coalition coordinator Erin Breen said.

North Las Vegas police arrested Hair in July on a charge of reckless driving – one of Nevada’s most serious traffic offenses – after catching him near Lake Mead Boulevard driving a red Chevrolet Camaro at 106 mph, more than 70 mph over the posted speed limit.

Officers had cited him for the same offense, just minutes earlier, after catching him driving 73 mph in a 35 mph zone.

The Police Department posted about the arrest on Twitter at the time, congratulating its traffic officers for making the city’s streets safer.

The high-speed stops came just months after North Las Vegas was the site of Nevada’s deadliest crash in at least 30 years.

Gary Dean Robinson, who was traveling 103 mph in a 35 mph zone, killed himself and eight others after he collided into a family’s minivan. Robinson, 59, had been cited at least five times for speeding since August 2020, and three of those tickets were reduced to parking violations, a Review-Journal investigation revealed last year.

Hair would have faced a six-month suspension of his driver’s license if convicted of both reckless driving offenses he faced.

Instead, a city judge reduced the charge for which he was arrested to a parking violation after the 36-year-old man received a $780 fine and completed traffic school, meaning it will not appear on his official state driving record.

North Las Vegas City Attorney Deep Goswami said Hair still faces the first reckless driving citation, and a warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed court earlier this month.

“We certainly are going to deal with that accordingly in how we think that needs to proceed based on the subsequent events,” he said.

The cases were not Hair’s first traffic violations. Records show that he had two other North Las Vegas traffic cases in 2021 that were amended to parking violations. A speeding case in Laughlin from last year also was amended to a parking violation, records show.

“We can’t see the future and know what somebody is going to do,” Goswami said. “So we make the best offer that we can with the information that we have in front of us.”

Traffic safety experts have criticized Southern Nevada’s widespread practice of reducing traffic charges.

The Review-Journal found last year that more than 200,000 — or two-thirds — of all moving violations filed in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson were reduced to parking violations between 2017 and 2021.

Even the most serious offenses were negotiated down to lesser offenses to clear overburdened dockets, the investigation found.

The long-standing process has hindered authorities’ efforts to track bad drivers. Reduced tickets are not included on a person’s state DMV driving record, so they are concealed from police and auto insurance companies.

Speeders like Robinson and Hair cause nearly one-third of the state’s fatal crashes, authorities have said.

After the newspaper’s findings were published, a state committee voted unanimously to create a task force to study how frequently traffic offenses are reduced to parking violations in court.

A new law came into play this month, making most minor traffic offenses civil infractions. That means courts will reduce far fewer traffic tickets to parking violations, said Goswami, who contends that changes made this year will reduce repeat offenders.

Hair, originally identified by the first name of Jeffery, is scheduled to appear in Laughlin Justice Court on Thursday.

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

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