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Report: Motorist who caused deadly NLV crash was driving 103 mph

Updated March 9, 2022 - 11:51 am

A motorist who caused a crash that killed eight people and himself was driving his car at 103 mph at the time of the crash, according to a newly released police report, and he had accelerated from a speed of 90 mph just five seconds before the lethal collision.

Authorities said Gary Dean Robinson, 59, caused the six-vehicle crash at the intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and Commerce Street on Jan. 29 when he ran a red light. The crash killed Robinson, a passenger in his Dodge Challenger and seven members of the same family who were in a white Toyota minivan that was struck by Robinson’s vehicle.

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A crash report released by the North Las Vegas Police Department states police downloaded data from the so-called black box in Robinson’s Challenger.

“The download from V1 (Robinson’s vehicle) clearly shows the vehicle was in proper operation and that (it) was at full acceleration and was listed at 90 mph 5 seconds before the collision,” investigator Trevor DeSousa wrote in the report. “The download showed V1 accelerated to a speed of 103 mph in the posted 35 mph speed zone and was at 103 mph with contact/impact with v2.”

The occupants of the minivan killed in the crash 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. The passenger in Robinson’s vehicle, Tanaga Miller, 46, also died at the scene.

The report indicates that of the nine killed, five were confirmed to be wearing seat belts. Those wearing seat belts were Robinson, Zacarias-Caldera, Gabriel Mejia-Barrera, Adrian Zacarias, and David Meijia-Barrera, according to the report. Miller was not wearing a seat belt. Investigators said it is unknown whether the three others killed were restrained at the time of the crash.

North Las Vegas police spokesman Alexander Cuevas said Wednesday toxicology tests are still pending on Robinson to discern whether he was impaired.

“We should receive that sometime next week,” Cuevas said of the tests.

DeSousa wrote in the report that Robinson was clearly “traveling at a high rate of speed and failed to obey a traffic control device” when his car struck the minivan. The collision forced the van into two other vehicles as the van rotated and rolled.

“It is believed at this point the three rear passengers of (the minivan) were ejected,” DeSousa wrote.

The crash is the deadliest in Nevada in at least the last 30 years. Fifteen people overall were involved in the crash, and of the six survivors, injuries ranged from minor to serious. The newly released police report identifies Tiffani May, 31, of Las Vegas, as the driver of a Ford Fusion who was seriously injured. The report states she was hospitalized at University Medical Center with “major” injuries at the time, but a spokesman for UMC said Wednesday she is no longer hospitalized there.

The crash is also being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, which had not released a preliminary report as of Wednesday. The results of an investigation by the Clark County coroner’s office into the causes and manners of death for the nine dead is pending as well.

A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation found that Robinson had a clean record with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles despite being cited for speeding at least five times in the 15 months preceding the fatal crash.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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