Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2018

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Woman faces rare murder charge in crash that killed boy

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Ricardo Torres-Cortez

A photo of 8-year-old Levi Echenique is displayed during a candlelight vigil at Paradise Park, 4775 McLeod Dr., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. Echenique was killed by a suspected impaired driver in a traffic accident on Aug. 31 at at Eastern and Harmon avenues.

Updated Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 | 2:16 p.m.

Prosecutors in Las Vegas filed a rare second-degree murder charge Friday against a 25-year-old woman accused of driving under the influence and more than twice the speed limit when her vehicle hit another car, killing an 8-year-old boy.

A judge agreed to increase bail to $1 million and put Aylin Alderette-Perez on house arrest pending a Sept. 24 preliminary hearing of evidence in the Aug. 31 crash that killed Levi Echenique and injured his parents. Two people in a third vehicle also were hurt.

Alderette-Perez's attorney, Warren Geller, declined to comment about the upgraded charge. It includes an allegation that Alderette-Perez's driving constituted use of a deadly weapon, her vehicle.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said it was the second time he has charged a driver with second-degree murder in a DUI case since he took office in February 2012.

Alderette-Perez displayed "recklessness and blatant disregard for human life," he said.

Alderette-Perez told police she was late for work, and vehicle computer records showed she was driving 103 mph (166 kph) in a 45 mph (72 kph) area. Witnesses say Alderette's Chevrolet Camaro sped through several stop lights before the crash.

Prosecutor Eric Bauman said Alderette was under the influence of marijuana at the time, and police said prescription drugs were found in Alderette-Perez's car. The type of drug was not specified.

A similar charge of second-degree murder is pending against Ronald Leavell in a fatal high-speed crash in May 2017. Leavell is accused of driving 125 mph (201 kph) in a residential Las Vegas neighborhood while under the influence of marijuana.

Leavell has pleaded not guilty and is undergoing mental health examinations at a state facility to determine if he is fit to assist in his criminal defense.

A first-degree murder charge is pending in state court against Lakeisha Nicole Holloway, 27, on charges that she intentionally drove onto a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk, killing an Arizona woman and injuring at least 34 other pedestrians less than a week before Christmas 2015.

Tests showed Holloway had more than the Nevada legal limit of marijuana and its metabolic byproducts in her blood when she was arrested.

Holloway has recently been found competent to stand trial. A date has not been set. Records in Oregon show Holloway changed her name to Paris Paradise Morton in October 2015.

She also faces a child endangerment charge for having her 3-year-old daughter in the car with her.