Two Nevada State Troopers Killed in a Hit-and-Run While Helping Another Driver and a Suspect Is in Custody
LAS VEGAS – Two Nevada state troopers in Las Vegas who had stopped to help a driver on the state’s busiest highway died in the predawn hours of Thursday when a drunk driver struck them, authorities said.
Las Vegas Police Undersheriff Andrew Walsh said at a midday news conference that they had arrested the driver, who fled after hitting the two officers and evaded authorities for hours before the car involved in the crash. hit and run accident was found in a nearby parking lot. apartment complex.
“In this tragic time, Nevada State Police will need that love and support from the community more than ever,” Walsh said.
The police department identified the driver as 46-year-old Jemarcus Williams. Court and jail records Thursday night did not list an attorney for Williams who could speak on his behalf.
Williams faces charges of reckless driving, DUI and failure to stop at the scene of an accident, according to court records. Because the alleged crimes left two people dead, the charges include a sentencing enhancement that could add decades to Williams’ punishment if he is convicted.
Around 3:30 a.m., police said, the two officers had stopped to check on a driver who was asleep behind the wheel on Interstate 15 near downtown Las Vegas when a white Chevrolet HHR struck them both.
The driver did not stop, Deputy Police Chief Branden Clarkson said. But he said investigators found the car unoccupied at an apartment complex around 8 a.m. He did not say how they found the suspect.
Williams is due to make his first court appearance Friday morning.
A police officer was pronounced dead at a hospital. The other died at the scene.
The names of the slain soldiers have not been released, but Clarkson described them as husbands with children.
Video released by the police department showed the bodies of both officers being escorted to the coroner’s office by about two dozen officers on motorcycles, their blue and red police lights flashing.
Outside the coroner’s office, dozens more joined law enforcement officers in saluting as the bodies, which were draped in American flags, were carried inside by uniformed state troopers.
The coroner’s office said Thursday afternoon that it was still investigating and could not yet identify the officers.
Gov. Joe Lombardo, who said he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths, ordered all American flags in Nevada to fly at half-staff until the soldiers’ funerals.
“This is a devastating loss for Nevada authorities, the city of Las Vegas and our entire state,” Lombardo said in a statement. “As we mourn these soldiers, we will never forget their bravery, courage and sacrifice.”
A stretch of highway and several on-ramps were closed for hours after the deaths, snarling traffic for miles.
In 2021, not far from where the two troopers were killed Thursday, another state trooper was struck and killed on Interstate 15 during a pursuit of a stolen vehicle. The carjacking suspect, who led officers on a chase through Las Vegas and neighboring northern Las Vegas, struck police officer Micah May while he was placing a tire deflation device in the freeway lanes.
Associated Press writer Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed.