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July 27, 2014

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Prosecutor laments inability to pursue DUI charges in crash that killed teen Metro volunteer

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Courtesy of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Angel Velasquez, who died after an accident on his motorcycle Aug. 1, 2013, was a member of the Metro Police Explorer Program, where young people learn about law enforcement.

Angel Velasquez Memorial

Ernesto Velasquez, left, father of Angel Velasquez, and Ricky Medrano, the stepdad of Angel Velasquez, carry the casket out after the service for Angel Velasquez at Trinity Life Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday, August 7, 2013. The 19-year-old Metro Explorer was killed August 1 by a suspected impaired driver. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Jvon Williams

A Las Vegas man who admitted Wednesday that he left the scene of the accident that killed a young Metro Police volunteer won’t face questions in court as to whether he was at fault or impaired at the time.

The family of the victim, Angel Velasquez, 19, and prosecutor Eric Bauman both expressed concern about the message the case sends: Flee from the scene to destroy the evidence.

While police arrested 29-year-old Jvon Williams on suspicion of driving under the influence, the case against him was an uphill battle from the beginning, Bauman said, because it is tough to gather evidence if a person leaves an accident.

The accident occurred on Aug. 1 when Williams allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign near East Sahara Avenue and Van Patten Place and caused Velasquez to slam on his brakes and crash into Williams’ Volkswagen, according to police reports.

Velasquez later died from his injuries.

Witnesses helped police track down Williams.

While Williams failed several sobriety tests, his blood alcohol test, done four hours and 35 minutes after the accident, came back at .04, Bauman said.

The legal limit is .08.

Even if he’d been well above the legal limit when arrested, it would have been a difficult case, Bauman said.

Williams’ attorney could have argued that Williams didn’t drink until after the accident.

The plea deal dropped a reckless driving charge against Williams.

Prosecutors are seeking the maximum sentence, 15 years, against Williams for the hit and run. The minimum Clark County District Judge Stefany Miley could give him would be probation.

“We knew right out of the gate the problems we were going to have,” Bauman said, saying he tried to prepare the family for issues in the case. “My heart goes out to them. There is no good answer to give them.”

Metro Explorers' Car Wash Fundraiser

Metro Explorers hold a car wash fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at Brake Masters on South Eastern Avenue to help with funeral expenses for Angel Velasquez's family. Launch slideshow »

Bauman lauded Metro officers on the case, saying, “They really did try real hard. They really wanted to get this guy.”

Williams’ sentencing is set for Dec. 9.

After the Sept. 4 hearing where it was revealed Williams wouldn’t face DUI charges, Velasquez’s mother, Marivel Jimenez, said she just wanted justice for her son. Velasquez was a captain in Metro’s Explorer program, which teaches young people about law enforcement.

At a car wash to raise funds for his funeral, several of his friends told the Sun how devoted Velasquez was to his family.

Bauman said he’d seen the family’s devotion to their son in the courtroom, noting that the Wednesday hearing was an emotional one.

“I admire [the family’s] strength and resolve and they obviously loved him very, very much. It is abundantly clear,” Bauman said. “I’m almost at a loss for words. My heart goes out to them.”

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