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‘This is so unexpected’: Family reeling from motorcyclist’s death in Las Vegas crash

Updated June 24, 2024 - 9:14 pm

Michael Guardian’s love for motorcycles harked back to when he was a young man in his native Philippines, before he moved to Tennessee in 2016 and then Las Vegas in 2019.

“That’s his passion,” said his sister-in-law Celyn Guardian, a Las Vegas resident also originally from the Philippines. “He likes to buy motorcycles, fix them.”

Celyn Guardian, 35, used the present tense when talking about her brother-in-law, as she and Michael’s brother Marion, 39, still reel from the shock of his sudden death Thursday afternoon when his motorcycle crashed into a pickup truck in southwest Las Vegas.

“This is so unexpected,” she said. “We’re not really prepared for this. This was my husband’s only brother in the United States. They have two other brothers in the Philippines.”

The 44-year-old motorcyclist was driving his Suzuki GSX-R1000 heading south in the middle travel lane on South Durango Drive toward the intersection at West Arby Avenue at a high rate of speed, according to a preliminary crash report by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Then a Chevrolet Colorado truck, driving north on Durango and south of Arby, entered the only left-turn lane, stopped and made the westbound turn onto Arby, entering the Suzuki’s path of travel, the report said. The front of the Suzuki collided with the right rear of the Chevrolet, ejecting the motorcyclist onto the roadway.

Police said the truck driver suffered minor injuries, remained at the scene and showed no signs of impairment. The crash is being reviewed by the department’s collision investigation section.

The death of Michael Guardian, nicknamed “Kuya Mike” and a father of four kids still in his native country, comes at very complicated time for his family. His mother was set to obtain a visa to visit the United States as were three of his kids, who were expecting to join him soon at the Las Vegas home he shared with his brother and sister-in-law, Celyn Guardian said.

Now, Michael Guardian’s mother will have to seek an emergency visa at the U.S. Embassy in Manila this week to make it to Las Vegas to view his body for the last time before it is cremated and sent back to the Philippines, she said.

His brother Marion Guardian was supposed to begin a job as a custodian for the Clark County School District as of Monday and will have to request time off to plan for the funeral and manage the family’s finances, including those of Michael Guardian, who did not leave a will, Celyn Guardian said.

“He was a really nice guy,” Celyn Guardian said of her late brother-in-law. “He’s lovable. He likes to laugh a lot and he’s really friendly. Everyone liked him. He was such an easy-going guy.”

“We thought, why him?” she added. “He was just about to have his kids here.”

She and her husband have already discussed accepting Michael Guardian’s kids into their house to live with the couple’s own three children, she said.

“I told my husband that we have to get those three kids,” she said. “That’s the only thing we can do for my brother-in-law.”

Celyn Guardian said she has to “be strong” for her husband. “I have to be the one who calls these places. I have to do it for him because he’s really hurt.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to defray funeral expenses. As of Monday afternoon, it has raised $3,680 toward a goal of $30,000.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been planned, she said.

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

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