LAS VEGAS – An Arizona van driver who slammed into cyclists on a stretch of Nevada highway last December, killing five and injuring four, was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of 16 years in prison State of Nevada for driving under the influence of methamphetamine causing death.
Jordan Alexander Barson, 45, of Kingman, Ariz., Apologized on Tuesday, during the first day of a two-day emotional hearing in Las Vegas, asking for forgiveness as he spoke by video from the detention center of the Clark County, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. His attorney, Damian Sheets, said Barson had no intention of harming.
“Knowing that I caused the death of five people and seriously injured two others is unbearable most of the time,” Barson told the court. “I want you to know that I am so sorry for what I did. I know you will carry this pain forever, and it breaks my heart that I caused this.
Clark County District Court Judge Bita Yeager admitted Barson’s remorse on Wednesday, but stuck to the agreed-upon sentence when he pleaded guilty in April to two counts of impaired driving weakened leading to death.
“You had no business to drive,” Yeager told him.
The judge stopped, on the verge of tears, called the names of the five cyclists and cited the effect of their deaths on “mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren “.
“Their lives are forever affected because of your wrong choice,” she said.
Las Vegas residents Erin Michelle Ray, 39, Gerrard Suarez Nieva, 41, Michael Todd Murray, 57, Aksoy Ahmet, 48, and Thomas Chamberlin Trauger, 57, were killed.
Cyclists José Vasquez and Jérôme Ducrocq were seriously injured.
The judge also ordered Barson to pay nearly $ 60,000 in restitution to the victims.
Barson’s plea deal avoided the trial of 14 felony counts that could have kept him behind bars for the rest of his life had he been convicted.
Prosecutors said blood tests showed he had nine times the amount of methamphetamine in his system that would indicate a deficiency.
Barson, a commercial truck driver, cried after the Dec. 10 crash on US 95 between Boulder City and Searchlight.
He told investigators he fell asleep while driving while driving his regular work route between Las Vegas, the town of Bullhead City, Ariz. On the Colorado River, and Kingman.
The flat-faced truck struck cyclists trailing a Subaru Outback support vehicle shielding them from headwinds as a group of about 20 cyclists made an annual 130-mile trip from Las Vegas through the desert scenic Nevada and California.