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Utah man dies after wrong-way crash on I-15 near Las Vegas speedway

Updated March 16, 2021 - 5:19 pm

A Salt Lake City man has died of his injuries following a suspected DUI wrong-way crash that left five others hospitalized early Saturday near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Nevada Highway Patrol said.

A white Toyota Camry traveling south in the northbound lanes of Interstate-15 struck a blue Toyota Camry with five people inside it about 1:55 a.m., the Highway Patrol said in a news release Tuesday. Samuela Tupola, 23, who was in the middle rear passenger seat of the latter vehicle, died of his injuries Sunday at University Medical Center.

The Clark County coroner’s office determined Tuesday Tupola died of blunt force injuries. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

After the wrong-way driver stuck the second Camry, it was hit by a tractor trailer traveling directly behind it and hurtled into a median barrier, the Highway Patrol said. Spokesman Travis Smaka described the impact as a “very violent crash.”

Another passenger in the blue Toyota and the driver of the wrong-way vehicle were also taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. The other three occupants in the blue Toyota were hospitalized in serious condition, the Highway Patrol said.

Investigators believe impairment is a factor in the crash, and “charges are pending” against the wrong-way driver, the agency said.

Tupola’s death marked the Highway Patrol Southern Command’s 13th fatal crash this year, and 15th fatality.

Further information was not immediately available.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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