Police: Man in Vegas crash admits using drugs
- Article by: MICHELLE RINDELS
- Associated Press
- April 2, 2013 - 8:37 PM
LAS VEGAS - An 18-year-old driver who plowed into a Las Vegas restaurant during lunchtime in a crash that seriously injured 10 people appeared disoriented afterward, didn't know what day it was, and later admitted to using drugs without a prescription, police said in a report released Tuesday.
Gage James Lindsey is being held in the Clark County jail on suspicion of DUI, reckless driving and leaving the scene of the Monday crash at the Egg & I restaurant. He's scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
Photos from the scene Tuesday show the front of the restaurant boarded up with plywood. The Egg & I was closed Tuesday while the owner assessed the damage to determine next steps, according to Melody Padilla, manager of sister restaurant Egg Works.
Police wrote that an entire side of the building was "on the verge of collapse" after a main support beam was snapped on impact.
A patron who was dining with her sisters when the crash happened said she watched the car hurtling toward the restaurant and yelled out just before it burst through the plate glass.
"I screamed, `A car's coming!' and it exploded through the window," Suziliene McDonald said. "The motor was still revving, and the dust came right after it, just like in the movies."
Two men inside the 1993 Lexus sedan sat for a moment and then tried to run, McDonald said. Several men jumped over a short wrought-iron fence and caught them to hold them until police arrived.
"He kept saying he blacked out," McDonald said of the driver, who sat shirtless in handcuffs on the sidewalk while police investigated. "But he was awake when he ran from the car."
It wasn't immediately clear if Lindsey had an attorney. His passenger, 21-year-old David Roldan, was not charged.
An unidentified man who answered the phone Tuesday at a number listed for Roldan said Roldan did not want to comment on the incident.
Rescuers pulled several people out from underneath the car, which ended up balancing on a patio chair. A police report shows one victim had a collapsed lung and fractures in his spine, arm and shoulders, while several other victims had broken bones.
Hospital officials said Tuesday at least five of the patients had been released, including three children. One who was still hospitalized was in critical condition, two were in fair, and one was in good condition. Hospital officials weren't clear on the status of the tenth patient, who'd walked in for treatment.
Authorities said earlier that all of the victims are expected to survive.
The sequence of events started a little after 12:30 p.m., when the Lexus entered a turn lane on Sahara Avenue, jumped a median, and landed in oncoming traffic, investigators said. It was struck by a Mitsubishi sedan and a Ford pickup truck before it crashed into the eatery.
Three men are credited with keeping Lindsey and Roldan at the scene of the crash. Witnesses reported Lindsey attempted to discard a pill in a plastic bag, saying it was the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
Roldan later sat on a curb and refused to speak with reporters.
Lindsey told police he was about to black out and needed to get off the road, according to a law enforcement report. He also said he tried to flee because he was likely to get into a fight with restaurant patrons.
Investigators said a breath test turned up no evidence of alcohol impairment, but they noted Lindsey appeared disoriented and didn't know the time, date or day of the week.
A detective who analyzed his symptoms through a "drug recognition evaluation" after the crash deemed him too impaired to drive, the report said. Results of blood and urine tests are pending and could take weeks.
Police said Lindsey later admitted to using drugs without a prescription.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
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