Updated November 29, 2019 - 2:40 pm
An attorney for a suspected DUI driver who authorities say ran a red light in southwest Las Vegas, killing a California woman and injuring a 12-year-old girl on Thanksgiving morning, claimed Friday that it was the victim who “blew” past the light.
“Apparently the victim, the person deceased, God bless her soul, blew a light,” attorney Craig Mueller said.
But Las Vegas traffic investigators have said that both witness statements and surveillance in the area of Durango Drive and Russell Road showed Nathaniel Tavers Postelle III running the red light.
Postelle, a 27-year-old lifelong resident of Las Vegas, remained in custody Friday at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of DUI resulting in death and possession of a controlled substance, according to jail and court records.
He made his first court appearance Friday afternoon in Las Vegas Justice Court, during which Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure set Postelle’s bail at $250,000 pending his arraignment next week.
During the roughly three-minute hearing, Postelle kept his back turned to reporters in the courtroom gallery as Mueller argued for his release.
The attorney said police collected his client’s blood sample outside the required two-hour window. Under Nevada law, blood evidence drawn more than two hours after a DUI crash is not presumptive of the blood alcohol level.
If any alcohol is detected in the sample, Mueller said, then the crash likely was a case of “day-old liquor” still in the suspect’s system.
A prosecutor from the Clark County district attorney’s office was not present during the Friday hearing.
About 8:35 a.m. Thursday, police said, a woman from Victorville, California, was driving a 2013 Nissan Sentra south on Durango, approaching Russell Road. She had a green light.
At the same time, police said, Postelle was westbound on Russell in a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder when he ran the light at the intersection with Durango, striking the driver’s side of the Nissan.
Police said that the woman died at the crash site. She was 32, although police initially reported she was 35. Her 12-year-old passenger — a Las Vegas resident — suffered minor injuries and was taken to University Medical Center as a precaution.
Postelle suffered minor head injuries and was treated at the same hospital before he was booked into the county jail.
The suspect, who according to Mueller has two young children, is a felon. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to three years’ probation, according to Clark County District Court records.