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Las Vegas teen killed in minibike crash had 10 times legal limit for pot, report says

A teenage boy killed last summer when his minibike crashed as he drove along a trail beside the Las Vegas Wash had 10 times the legal limit of marijuana in his blood for drivers in Nevada, according to an autopsy report.

Angel Naranjo, 16, died from blunt force injuries to his head and neck in what was considered an accident after striking a metal cable on the ground of the trail, causing him to be ejected from the bike, based on a Clark County coroner’s report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The coroner’s toxicology report, based on samples of the boy’s blood, reveals he had a level of 20 nanograms per milliliter of Delta-9 THC, when the limit considered under the influence on Nevada roadways is 2 nanograms, according to Nevada law.

The report’s section on the blood tests, written by Dr. Brianna L. Peterson, forensic toxicologist, states that Delta-9 THC is the principle psychoactive ingredient of marijuana that in addition to relaxation and euphoria can cause distorted perception, confusion, dizziness and somnolence.

The report’s findings also stated that the teen had two other positive readings for metabolites indicating marijuana use, including 60 ng/mL of Delta-9 Carboxy THC and 2.5 of 11-Hydroxy Delta- 9 THC.

The coroner’s office, however, did not indicate in the report that impairment from marijuana use contributed to Naranjo’s death.

The teen’s family spoke out publicly last year, insisting that someone had deliberately strung the metal cable across the trail and caused his death, but the Metropolitan Police Department stated that it found no evidence of a homicide.

On July 30, 2023, at about 12:32 a.m., Naranjo rode his minibike with three companions heading north on the paved trail along the wash near East Lake Mead Boulevard and North Pecos Road, then turned southbound when he ran over a galvanized steel cable and was thrown off the bike, according to the coroner’s investigation.

Paramedics arrived and placed him in the rear of an ambulance but life-saving efforts were futile and a doctor pronounced him dead at 12:47 a.m., the report stated.

A coroner investigator who visited the scene, while Naranjo was lying in the ambulance, observed on the trail that a fence of galvanized cable “had been tampered with, and a loose cable was observed slung over the fence,” based on the report.

“An abraded pattern was observed to the support pole along the path, directly across from the fence,” the report continued. “An additional abraded pattern was observed on a light pole along the path, directly across from the fence.”

The examination of the boy’s body located “patterned injuries on the neck and upper extremities with periodicity compatible with metal cable,” a frontal skull fracture and blunt force injuries to the neck and upper body.

“Investigation by law enforcement raised no suspicion of foul play,” wrote Stacey A. Simmons, medical examiner.

A DNA analysis was conducted on the metal cable and surface of the light post, Simmons stated.

“Only Angel Naranjo’s DNA was consistently identified and all remaining known contributors were excluded,” Simmons wrote. “The other profiles obtained during the analysis were too limited and/or too complex of a mixture to analyze further.”

After performing the autopsy, visiting the crash location, examining photos and the DNA report, Simmons concluded that the boy “died as a result of blunt force injuries of the head and neck, sustained when he impacted a metal cable while riding his minibike. The manner (of) death is accident.”

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X.

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