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Nevada husband-wife scientists injured, daughter killed, in crash

Two top state museum officials and paleontologists were badly injured, and the woman’s young daughter killed, in a head-on crash in Nye County on May 20.

Married couple Joshua Bonde, director of the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, and Becky Hall, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, were among those in a pickup truck during the collision, according to Nathan Tobey, who is a board member of the children’s museum.

“It’s the worst,” Tobey said. “It breaks my heart. They have done so much good for the community in Northern Nevada.”

‘Very lively, fun little girl’

Hall’s daughter Nola Humphrey, 10, died in the wreck, said family friend Chris Palladino, 51, who spoke on behalf of the family on Monday.

“She was a typical 10-year-old: full of life,” Palladino said. “She was a very lively, fun little girl.”

The Nevada Highway Patrol reported a crash at about 9:25 p.m. on May 20 on U.S. Highway 95 west of Mercury, when a Chevrolet Trax SUV driven by Victor Jacuinde-Garcia, 22, of Las Vegas, with passenger Giovanni Vasquez, 24, of Las Vegas, going north on the highway approached a 2022 Dodge Ram pickup in the opposite lane heading south.

The driver of the Trax veered into the southbound lane and crashed head-on with the pickup, which rotated, stopped in the southbound lane and caught fire, while the Trax also came to rest in the lane, according to the NHP.

Jacuinde-Garcia and Vasquez died at the scene.

Nola was taken to Desert View Hospital in Pahrump where she was pronounced dead, the Highway Patrol reported, without naming the girl.

‘Doing as best they can’

Another of Hall’s daughters, Keira Humphrey, 12, was also hospitalized but has since been released, Palladino said.

Becky is recovering at University Medical Center but has a “long road” ahead of her, Palladino said. The family is doing the best they can, he said.

“They’re focused on Nola and keeping Nola’s memory, and healing physically and emotionally,” Palladino said. “They’re very strong people and they’re doing as best they can.”

A GoFundMe fundraising page has been created by another family friend to help Bonde and Hall with medical bills and any other costs incurred by the tragedy. By Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe had received more than $48,000 toward its goal of $55,000.

Palladino, who confirmed the legitimacy of the GoFundMe page, said the family is grateful for the support.

“They’re pretty outstanding citizens of our community and the community has shown that in terms of the GoFundMe, and the people that are reaching out,” Palladino said. “And I think that’s pretty amazing, and I think it shows the close-knit nature of this city and this state.”

The GoFundMe page also described what the family has had to endure since the crash:

Bonde, Hall and Keira were airlifted to UMC’s trauma unit. When Hall regained consciousness on May 25, she was informed about Nola. Keira woke up the following day.

Bonde had abdominal trauma requiring emergency surgery plus ankle, back and rib fractures. Hall underwent surgery for internal injuries and suffered a broken knee, femur, foot, back and sternum. Keira had surgery for abdominal injuries.

According to Tobey, who spoke briefly with Hall on Saturday, the driver of the Chevrolet Trax was traveling behind a large truck and decided to pass it on the two-lane highway just before the crash.

The Highway Patrol did not respond to requests about further details on the collision.

Bonde, hired by the state museum in Carson City in 2022, served as curator and director of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum from 2018 to 2020 after obtaining his doctorate in geology/earth science at UNLV, where he worked as an assistant professor in residence for six years, based on his LinkedIn profile.

Bonde and Hall, who are paleontologists and co-founded the Nevada Science Center in Henderson, were profiled last year in a Review-Journal story about their work in uncovering the first-known dinosaur native to Nevada. They were featured in the Vegas PBS show “STEAM Camp” about the center’s dinosaur excavation dig in central Nevada in June 2022.

Bonde wrote on LinkedIn that he was a proud Indigenous scientist whose personal research focuses on the interplay between structural geology and biotic responses through time in the Great Basin region.

Hall, who holds a masters degree from UNLV in geological and earth science, was director of education at the natural history museum, worked at PaleoWest environmental resource firm in Phoenix and was a dinosaur expert for the National Park Service in Boulder City.

Bonde and Hall co-authored an article with two others in the Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science in 2022 about support from their research on a fossilized bone recovered in southern Nevada for the existence of a new genus and species of dinosaur, Nevadadromeus schmitti.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter. Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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