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Autopsy: Cocaine, PCP found in driver in wreck that killed 9

NLV crash
North Las Vegas Police Department via AP, File
FILE - This photo released by the North Las Vegas Police Department shows a Dodge Challenger following a crash in North Las Vegas on Jan. 29, 2022.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 59-year-old motorist had cocaine and PCP in his system when his car accelerated into a busy crossroads in North Las Vegas in January, causing a multi-vehicle wreck that killed him, his passenger and seven members of a family in a minivan, according to autopsy reports made public on Monday.

Gary Dean Robinson died of multiple injuries in the Jan. 29 crash, according to two Clark County coroner’s autopsies that concluded his death was an accident.

Police said earlier this month that speeding was a factor in the midafternoon crash, and that a vehicle computer showed Robinson’s maroon Dodge Challenger sped up from 90 mph (145 kph) to 103 mph (166 kph) five seconds before entering the intersection against a red traffic signal.

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Killed in a Toyota Sienna were the driver, Jose Zacarias-Caldera, 35; and passengers David Mejia-Barrera, 25; Gabriel Mejia-Barrera, 23; Bryan Axel Zacarias, 15; Lluvia Daylenn Zacarias, 13; Adrian Zacarias, 10; and Fernando Yeshua Mejia, 5. They lived in North Las Vegas.

Robinson and the passenger who died in his car, Tanaga Ravel Miller, 46, also lived in North Las Vegas.

Chain-reaction crashes also involved a Ford Fusion in which police said a 31-year-old woman was critically injured.

The wreck also is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, which has been looking at speed-limiting technology in vehicles including high-performance sports cars, a board member said after the crash.

The NTSB last week released a preliminary report with some facts gathered in its probe. Board spokesman Eric Weiss said Monday that no conclusions have been made.

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A county spokesman, Dan Kulin, said that after the coroner conducted an external autopsy of Robinson’s body, including blood samples, the safety board asked for a second autopsy to collect more detailed information including a urinalysis.

In both tests, levels of cocaine and phencyclidine, or PCP, in Robinson’s system were above the levels at which state law says a driver is presumed to be intoxicated.

Records showed that Robinson had a prior history of traffic and criminal offenses, including speeding, and had a state prison record after pleading guilty in 2004 to felony cocaine possession and violating terms of his probation.