Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010 | 11:33 a.m.
A man who told police he was "too drunk to drive" after he was involved in a fatal collision in April in Las Vegas today waived his preliminary hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Jacques Norton, 23, will be arraigned in December in Clark County District Court on felony DUI-death charges in connection with a two-car crash that killed Robert Childress Jr., 52, Las Vegas.
About five witnesses were ready to testify at the preliminary hearing for the prosecution this morning. However, Sullivan's attorney, Public Defender Tierra Jones, said Norton had decided to unconditionally waive the hearing.
Jones also said Norton, who is wearing a SCRAM DUI alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet, lives out of state and would have difficulty coming back quickly for an arraignment. She asked that the arraignment be postponed for at least 30 days, or until the first part of December.
Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan then forwarded the case to district court and set Norton's felony arraignment for 9 a.m. Dec. 2.
Prosecutors also told the judge they were filing an amended criminal complaint to the DUI-death charge against Norton to add a felony charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
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.
Norton's vehicle struck Childress' car on the driver's side in the center of the vehicle, police said. Childress' Mercedes was redirected east on Charleston and came to rest 144 feet from the point of impact, the arrest report said.
Childress was declared dead at the scene, the police report said.
Norton was redirected by the collision in a northeast direction and came to rest in the westbound lanes on Charleston, facing east, 128 feet from the point of impact, police 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."
When an investigating officer approached Norton's vehicle, the officer "could immediately smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage 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.