Modified: December 17, 2022

Families Devastated as Unfair Federal Agency Report Blames Victims

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On December 10, 2022, a fatal accident between Boulder City and Searchlight killed five bicyclists. The National Transportation Safety Board studied the accident and released a report that blamed the victims. Let’s explore the details of the news with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.

NTSB Exonerates Driver in Truck Crash That Killed Five Bicyclists South of Las Vegas

Twenty bicyclists were riding on the highway outside of Las Vegas, escorted by a Subaru Outback. During their 130-mile expedition, the cyclists divided into two groups as winds started to pick up near searchlight, Nev. One group continued riding in front of the Subaru while the other was cycling behind the safety escort vehicle.

According to Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, at around 9:40 AM on the southbound lanes of Highway 95, an Isuzu box truck smashed into the seven cyclists riding behind the safety escort vehicle, crushing them between the truck and the Subaru. The impact of the rear-end collision caused the Subaru to hit a couple of riders cycling in front of the safety escort vehicle.

The Nevada Highway Patrol troopers reported that five cyclists died at the accident scene, four men and one woman, and three suffered injuries from the impact. 

Emergency responders transported one of the injured riders in critical condition via air ambulance to the University Medical Center. Another rider who suffered non-life-threatening injuries was moved to a local hospital. 

The third injured rider had minor injuries and declined to go to the hospital. The Subaru driver suffered injuries and was immediately taken to the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

The truck driver, Jordan Alexander Barson of Arizona, stayed at the accident scene as the Nevada Highway Patrol troopers started questioning him. 

Barson told the police officers investigating the fatal crash that he fell asleep behind the wheel on his daily delivery route between Las Vegas, the Colorado River town of Bullhead City, and a few other cities.

According to the troopers, Barson was emotionally shaken by the incident and could not clear the field sobriety test. However, they reported that it was due to panic from the devastating accident.

One of the Nevada Highway Patrol troopers asked Barson to provide a voluntary blood test, which the truck driver refused four times. After asking for the fifth time to give a blood test, Barson agreed, and the troopers released Barson until further notice.

A former Las Vegas police officer, Michael Anderson, was one of the cyclists riding behind the escort vehicle and survived. He was in tears following the catastrophic accident, stating that he had never seen anything like this during his career as a police officer.

The results of the blood test arrived two weeks after drawing blood. A Las Vegas television station reported that Barson had 948 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his system, nine times what the prosecutors use in court to prove impairment.

Barson was initially charged with 14 felony charges. He made a deal with the prosecutors and pleaded guilty to two counts of driving under the influence causing death, with 12 other felony charges dismissed. He is serving 16 to 40 years in state prison.

The victim’s family believes that the justice system let them down as Barson did not get the punishment he deserved. According to the lead prosecutor, the evidence became weak when the officers didn’t find probable cause to conduct DUI testing after the flat faced truck plowed through the gaggle of bikers. 

When they didn’t suspect Barson of DUI, they did not get a search warrant, which further affected the case. Barson gave his blood for testing two hours after the crash and the trooper body camera video is not enough to prove rising blood or disprove it as a defense under Nevada law.

Following the incident, a drug recognition expert reported the absence of an officer with relevant training at the four-lane divided highway accident scene.

The 16-page National Safety Transportation Board report angered Las Vegas residents and the victims’ families. According to the report, the cyclists were cycling in the right travel lane of a 75-mph roadway, concluding that the victims contributed to the reckless driving “collision.”

Barson eventually submitted to a voluntary blood draw and pleaded guilty. Although Barson is serving time in prison, the victim’s family can still pursue compensatory damages by bringing a civil case against them.

Nevada follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule, and any victims partially liable for the accident can pursue compensation for their loss. Under state rules, the award is reduced according to the degree of fault. However, the rule prevents victims from recovering damages if their liability exceeds 50%.

The victims’ family members need to speak to reputable personal injury attorneys to learn more about their legal options and how much time they have left to bring a civil case. 

It boils down to the evidence and the attorney’s experience to prove that Barson was responsible for the death of multiple bicyclists.

Ehline Law – Advocating for the Rights of Bicyclists

Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys understand how tricky it is to handle bicycle accident cases, especially those involving partial negligence on behalf of the victims. However, our experienced trial attorneys have deep knowledge of California’s pure comparative negligence standard.

Citations:

  • Las Vegas Review Journal

Did the Nevada Highway Patrol investigate the fatal crash properly? Did they have the training to handle the case properly by requesting a search warrant for the truck driver? According to the Associated Press, they did not have probable cause that affected the case’s outcome.

If an officer is negligent or does not have the necessary training to investigate the crash that killed multiple bicyclists, could they also share responsibility? Or is there another lawsuit in the making against the state for incompetence?

These are some of the questions our attorneys are not afraid to find answers to. Regardless of what the National Transportation Safety Board reports, we have the resources to carry out our investigation to identify the liable parties. If the state is responsible, it is crucial to pursue civil action to prevent such investigations by law enforcement that could taint future cases.

We do not back away from a case, no matter how challenging. Our aim is to provide grieving family members with the closure and justice they need to move forward. 

If you lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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