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Candlelight vigil honors North Las Vegas crash victims

Updated February 7, 2022 - 7:24 am

Local and state officials joined community members Sunday night in North Las Vegas to honor the victims and survivors of a horrific car crash that claimed nine lives last week.

“I don’t understand how something like this could happen,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said.

About 100 people attended the event at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. statue, 1344 W. Carey Ave., in North Las Vegas. It was organized by the Rev. Vance “Stretch” Sanders, who invited plenty of others to speak at the service that lasted about an hour and a half.

“It’s not about any of us individually, it’s about us as a collective, to come together, to be a light in the darkness,” he said. “Remember, it’s not how long you live, it’s how well you lived. We all are here for a special reason. We don’t know how long we’re going to be here, but while you’re on Earth, make a difference.”

Seven members of the same household all died in the Jan. 29 wreck at Cheyenne Avenue and Commerce Street.

They were Fernando Yeshua Mejia, 5; Adrian Zacarias, 10; Lluvia Daylenn Zacarias, 13; Bryan Axel Zacarias, 15; Gabriel Mejia-Barrera, 23; David Mejia-Barrera, 25; and Jose Zacarias-Caldera, 35.

Police said Gary Dean Robinson, 59, had accelerated his Dodge Challenger to more than 100 mph before blowing through a red light and smashing into a minivan. Robinson and his passenger, Tanaga Ravel Miller, 46, also were killed. At least four others were injured in the crash, and some of the attendees at Sunday’s vigil were family members of survivors.

The crash is considered the deadliest in Nevada since the state began keeping track in 1991.

A day earlier, family members joined people along the street near the crash site to honor the victims.

Sunday’s event featured performances of songs, poems and pledges from public officials to make Nevada’s roads safer. At the end of the event, Sanders asked attendees to hold up candles or their phone flashlights after a moment of silence for the victims.

Bryan Zacarias was a sophomore at Rancho High School, and he was remembered by students and teachers alike as an outgoing person who everyone was drawn to.

North Las Vegas City Councilman Isaac Barron is a teacher at Rancho High School, and he talked about being at an 18th birthday celebration for a student last week.

“As I was sitting there, I had this feeling, as a dad, as a grandfather, I saw the ‘18’ and I realized that’s going to be something that is going to haunt this family here throughout the year,” he said. “That’s what’s lost.”

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan @reviewjournal.com. Follow@TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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