Updated December 12, 2022 - 8:28 pm
Shocked witnesses couldn’t believe what they saw Sunday night as the horrific aftermath of a crash that killed two toddlers unfolded in front of them in North Las Vegas.
“I’ll never forget what I saw last night. Ever,” said Anthony Herring, 67, whose backyard put him in close proximity to the carnage.
It was just after 9:15 p.m. when a silver Honda van veered off the road on the curve of Scott Robinson Boulevard, north of Lone Mountain Road, in a suspected DUI crash, sideswiping trees, a light pole, a wall and finally hit a palm tree head on, police said.
Two girls, described by police as toddlers, were killed. One died at the scene. The other died after being taken to University Medical Center.
The girls were not in child car seats as they should have been, police said. Instead, they were wearing adult seat belts.
“Speed and impairment are believed to be factors at this time,” said North Las Vegas Police Department spokesman Alexander Cuevas.
Both of the adults who were in the car were still hospitalized as of Monday, Cuevas said.
Another witness, Isaac Garcia, said he saw one of the women involved in the crash holding the obviously dead baby in her arms. She then dropped the baby’s body on the ground and stumbled over it, he said.
“That’s what shocked us and broke our heart because she just left the baby there,” said Garcia, who has holding his own 1-year-old daughter, Monzeratt, after leaving candles and a bouquet of flowers at the scene.
“When she was getting out of the car, she just stepped on the baby and walked to the grass,” said Herring’s grandson Kristian Rogers, 14.
“She got out the car, stepped on the baby, like nonchalant,” said Herring, saying that the woman appeared to him to be intoxicated. “It’s like, what the hell are you doing? It was frightening.”
The names of the two dead children, the driver or her passenger weren’t released Monday. Police said the driver, a woman in her 20s, was a family member of the two girls but wouldn’t elaborate. The driver is suspected of having been impaired, Cuevas said.
Residents whose homes back on to the street came out after hearing the crash and feeling it shake their homes.
“When I was sitting there, I thought, like, it was thunder,” Rogers said.
“He said the whole house vibrated,” Herring said.
Rogers and his uncle hopped over the wall separating their backyard from the road in an effort to help.
Davis Mallory, another witness, described the bend in the street where the crash happened as a “dangerous turn.” He said cars often drive too fast on the street. Judging by the damage he saw from Sunday night’s crash, it was his opinion that the driver must have been going over the speed limit.
Mallory also couldn’t forget what he saw.
“Just the sight of seeing a kid laying in the street … and the kid looks no more older than 1 or 2 years old,” Mallory said. “This is a baby.”
Cuevas said the tragedy underscores the need for drivers to never get behind the wheel while impaired. He also said it’s easily avoidable, either by having a designated driver or by calling a ride-hailing service or a taxi.
“This is a call to action about DUI, speed and proper child restraints,” Cuevas said. “NLVPD urges parents, caregivers, and anyone traveling with children to protect them by making sure that each child is secure in the correct car seat for their age, height and weight.”
The crash remained under investigation, police said.
Between 2017 and 2021, there were 447 fatal crashes on Clark County roads involving impaired drivers, resulting in 486 deaths. The fatal count represents 47 percent of all deadly crashes in the Las Vegas Valley, according to data from the Clark County Office of Traffic Safety.
Clark County’s number of impaired-related crash fatalities also represents 63 percent of all impaired fatal deaths in the state over that five-year stretch.