Nevada police are investigating the death of two patrol officers who did in a hit-and-run Thursday morning as homicides. Image by Diego Fabian Parra Pabon
Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Two Nevada Highway Patrol officers are dead and a suspect is in custody after a hit-and-run along Interstate 15 in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The troopers had stopped along the Interstate to check on a vehicle that was pulled over, the driver of which appeared to be asleep behind the wheel.
The officers were struck by another vehicle driven by 46-year-old Jemarcus Williams at about 3:23 a.m. who then fled the scene. Williams faces two counts each of reckless driving resulting in death, DUI resulting in death and failing to stop at the scene of a crash, according to Metro Deputy Chief Branden Clarkson.
One trooper died at the scene, Clarkson said, while the other was pronounced dead at University Medical Center.
Police located the suspect's vehicle, a white Chevrolet HHR, at an apartment complex near J Street and Monroe Avenue, and Williams was taken into custody.
The freeway was closed shortly after the crash for the investigation and was reopened to traffic around 4pm. The off ramp to D Street remained closed.
This is not the first time Williams has been in trouble with the law for criminal driving related offenses. Southern Nevada police have ticketed Williams for about a dozen alleged traffic violations since 2007, city and justice court records show.
He was charged with DUI in Las Vegas in 2007 and later pleaded no contest. He was also caught driving without a license four times during the next three years.
He pleaded no contest to failing to yield the right of way in 2020, but Las Vegas Municipal Court reduced the charge to a parking citation.
Most recently, Williams pleaded no contest for driving with expired license plates in May.
"Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of our fallen Troopers," the Nevada State Police said in a statement.
Gov. Joe Lombardo also released a statement after the officers' deaths.
"I'm profoundly saddened by the deaths of two of our brave Nevada State Troopers, who were killed early this morning in Las Vegas," the statement read. "This is a devastating loss for Nevada law enforcement, the city of Las Vegas, and our entire state. As we mourn these troopers, we will never forget their bravery, courage, and sacrifice."
Lombardo directed the United States flag and the Nevada state flag be lowered to half-staff immediately until sunset on the day of interment to honor the fallen Nevada State Troopers.
The deaths of the troopers are being investigated as homicides, Clarkson said.