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Kenny Lee’s blood alcohol level nearly 3 times legal limit in fatal crash, report says

Updated December 6, 2022 - 7:38 pm

Kenny Lee’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit when he died after crashing into a truck in Northern Nevada last year, a report from the Nevada Highway Patrol shows.

The 53-year-old chief executive officer of Lee’s Discount Liquor was not wearing a seat belt, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Two men in the Ford F-250 that collided with Lee’s van, John Mears and another co-worker for Pathfinder Minerals LLC, were driving north between West Wendover and Ely on U.S. Highway 95 around 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2021, when Mears said the van drove toward them on the wrong side of the road.

The truck drove onto the shoulder to avoid a crash, but Lee’s van struck their truck and attached trailer.

Troopers noted that there were neither environmental nor mechanical factors that contributed to the crash, but Lee’s name was redacted in the report.

A toxicology report from the Elko County coroner’s office identified Lee and said he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.22 percent at the time of his death. The legal limit in Nevada is 0.08 percent.

Lee had taken over as CEO of Lee’s Discount Liquor after his father, Hae Un Lee, died of cancer in August 2021.

Investigators said Lee drove a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan to West Wendover on Nov. 18 to visit a Lee’s Discount Liquor store. Because of a tire issue, Lee’s van was towed some of the way to West Wendover and was repaired the next morning.

The highway patrol’s Multi-Disciplinary Investigation and Reconstruction Team recommended the case be closed with “no criminal action,” according to the report.

Lee’s family did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

The Review-Journal has requested the crash report, audio and video related to the crash and Lee’s autopsy and toxicology several times since the crash. Troopers said the audio was deleted 90 days after the crash despite the outstanding requests.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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