A passenger who was thrown from a vehicle in a crash that left a woman dead in one of Las Vegas’ wealthiest neighborhoods filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the driver, a prominent valley real estate broker.
Scott Gragson was behind the wheel of his Range Rover on May 30 when he slammed into a tree, injuring Christopher Bentley, an executive vice president at the real estate company Colliers International, and killing Melissa Newton, a mother of three who had worked at the real estate company Prologis. Two others also were injured in the crash.
Before the wreck, the group had attended a Links for Life charity golf event, developed and promoted by Gragson, also a Colliers International executive vice president.
The lawsuit filed by a group of six attorneys for Bentley alleges that “alcohol was served at numerous locations across the Bear’s Best golf course” during the event, “including, but not limited to, the clubhouse, the course restaurant, at numerous kiosks throughout the course, and was available at each of the holes at the golf course for participants of the ‘Links for Life’ tournament to consume.”
After the event, 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.”
The lawsuit alleges that he had a caravan of 10 vehicles behind him and wanted the guard to allow the other vehicles through the gate without checking in.
“In a fit of alcohol-fueled rage, Gragson accelerated his Range Rover SportUtility-Vehicle through the open security gate,” at three times the speed limit in the community, the suit, which names Gragson and his company, Gragson Data SS LLC, as defendants, alleges.
Gragson later admitted to police that he consumed at least four to five mixed drinks, along with beer, starting at 9 a.m. the morning of the crash, which occurred at 4:50 p.m. that day.
He had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit almost four hours later, authorities have said.
Gragson’s attorney in the criminal DUI case, David Chesnoff, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.