Five killed in collision

A drunken driver who sped through a stop sign at Tenaya Way and Farm Road caused one of the worst traffic crashes in Las Vegas’ history, police said, when he slammed into the side of a sport utility vehicle carrying a family, killing five people including an infant, a toddler and two young boys Saturday night.

"This is the worst of the worst," said Sgt. Tracy McDonald of the Metropolitan Police Department’s fatal traffic unit. "This is no accident. … It was entirely preventable."

Police said 19-year-old Ronald Jayne Jr., the driver of the vehicle that hit the family’s SUV, suffered minor injuries and faces at least 20 criminal charges including five counts of driving under the influence involving a death and five counts of reckless driving involving a death or injury.

Jayne was under a suicide watch at the county jail Sunday night, police said.

Police said he killed five of the eight people who were in a 1998 Mercedes-Benz ML 320.

The 32-year-old woman who was driving and two boys between 8 and 11 years of age were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. A girl who was about a year to 18 months old died on the way to University Medical Center, and a boy younger than 1 died Sunday morning from his injuries, police said.

The three survivors from the SUV — 20-year-old Karla Dominguez, a woman who is about 35 and a girl who is about 8 — were in very serious condition Sunday night, police said.

Police said they were uncertain who was sitting where in the Mercedes but said there would have been enough seat belts for all of them. Police said at least one of the youngest children was in a child-safety seat.

About 9:30 p.m., Jayne was eastbound on Farm Road in a 2004 GMC Sierra and went through the four-way stop at a high rate of speed, police said.

At the same time, the SUV, which was northbound on Tenaya, drove into the intersection. Jayne slammed into the left side of the Mercedes. The Mercedes’ gasoline tank ruptured, and it burst into flames, police said.

Police said they think the victims died from the impact of the collision and not from the fire.

Passers-by pulled the victims from the burning wreckage and tried to resuscitate those who were not breathing. One motorist who was driving behind the Mercedes, 39-year-old William Rejincos, said he saw the SUV engulfed in flames and called 911.

A man who identified himself only as Arnold said he helped pull one of the victims out of the back seat of the burning vehicle. He later learned that the victim died. "I was devastated," he said.

Arnold and Rejincos drove up to the scene of the accident late Sunday afternoon and placed two Styrofoam crosses covered in flowers near the scene. The crosses were part of a small shrine of stuffed teddy bears and other stuffed animals that had been placed alongside the roadway a few hundred feet from the site of the collision.

Someone had placed a burned and partially melted bag of diapers and a piece of a vehicle at the shrine.

Las Vegas police Detective William Redfairn said Jayne was with other people at a residence before the accident. The detective would not say whether Jayne had been at a party.

He said Jayne’s father arrived at the scene of the collision soon after it occurred, and police sent him to UMC, where his son was at the time.

Redfairn said Sunday night that he did not know what Jayne’s blood-alcohol level had been.

The only crash with a higher death toll that authorities could recall Sunday night was the March 2000 case in which then-20-year-old Jessica Williams veered off Interstate 15 and mowed down teens who were picking up trash in the median.

Six people, ages 14 to 16, were killed.

"I’ve said the same thing over and over and over again. The message is very simple: buckle up, don’t drink and drive and obey the traffic laws. If you can do that simple thing, you will stay alive, and the people of this community will stay alive," Redfairn said.

Several people in the area drove past the shrine and complained that there had been many accidents at Tenaya and Farm.

One woman, Nicole Chandler, said the poor lighting in the area contributed to the accidents. Another man, Roy Stevens, brought his two teen daughters to the scene to teach them how dangerous Las Vegas’ roads can be.

"It just takes one mistake. And this mistake cost those people their lives," he said.

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