Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2021

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DUI-death trial set for man who told police he was ‘too drunk to drive’

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Jacques Norton

A jury trial has been set for next June for a man who told police he was "too drunk to drive" after he was involved in a fatal collision last April in Las Vegas.

Jacques Norton, 23, has pleaded not guilty to DUI-death charges in connection with a two-car crash that killed Robert Childress Jr., 52, Las Vegas.

During Norton's first appearance in Clark County District Court on Thursday, Arraignment Hearing Master Melissa de la Garza set his trial for 1:30 p.m. June 27, 2011, before Judge Kenneth Cory.

Norton is free on bail and is wearing a SCRAM DUI alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet.

According to a Metro Police report, Norton was driving a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser at 5:52 a.m. Sunday, April 4, east on Charleston Boulevard approaching Main Street when the crash occurred.

Witnesses told police they saw Norton driving at a high rate of speed and that he didn't stop for a red light at Main Street.

Norton's car struck a 1980 Mercedes 300SD driven by Childress, which was traveling north on Main Street and had a green light, the police report said.

Childress was declared dead at the scene, the police report said.

"Norton had no idea he hit another vehicle," the arrest report said. "He stated he hit a fire hydrant and he wanted to know how bad his vehicle was."

Officers said they could smell alcohol on his breath, the report said.

"Norton stated that he drank four to five drinks last night, vodka and tonics, at the club," the report said. "Norton could not remember what club he was at nor where he was coming from at the time of the crash. He only knew he was heading home."

Norton also told the officer that he took 15 mg of Celexa, an antidepressant drug, once a day and that he took at least five pills around 6 p.m. the night before, the officer said.

The officer said Norton thought that he was driving on Las Vegas Boulevard and had no idea what the cross street was.

"Norton, out of the blue, stated, 'I can't drive home. I'm too drunk,'" the police report said.

The officer said Norton could not stand up without help from officers or resting up against the patrol vehicle. Norton also thought that the date was Monday, May 1, and, although the sun was up, he thought the time was 4 a.m., the report said.

The report said a preliminary breath test on Norton found he had a result of 0.149. That compares to the .08 blood alcohol threshold of being legally intoxicated.

"Norton failed all tests, and was placed under arrest for DUI death, alcohol and drugs," the police report said.

Two more blood samples were taken from Norton that morning, within about 3.5 hours of the accident, before he was booked into the Clark County Detention Center, the report said. However, those results were not listed in the report.

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