Driver suspected of hitting, killing 2 Nev. state troopers charged with DUI

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By Casey Harrison

Las Vegas Sun

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Two Nevada State Police troopers who were assisting a motorist were struck by a vehicle and killed in a hit-and-run this morning on Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, authorities said.

The vehicle was later located, along with the suspected driver, authorities said.

“Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of our fallen troopers,” State Police said in a statement.

Metro Police were investigating the incident, authorities said.

The troopers were hit about 3:20 a.m. while assisting a driver who appeared to have fallen asleep in their vehicle and was pulled over on the interstate near D Street, Metro Police Deputy Chief Branden Clarkson said.

The troopers were hit by a white Chevrolet HHR, which fled the scene, Clarkson said. The troopers were identified Thursday night as Michael Abbate and Alberto Felix, according to state police.

One trooper was declared dead at the scene, and the other was transported to University Medical Center, where he later died, Clarkson said. Both were husbands with children, he said.

After conducting a street-by-street search, authorities located an unoccupied HHR matching the description of the suspect vehicle about 8 a.m. near J and Monroe streets, Clarkson said. The suspect, later identified as Jemarcus Williams, was later found.

Williams, 46, was booked at the Clark County Detention Center on two counts each of reckless driving resulting in death, DUI resulting in death and “duty to stop at the scene of an accident involving death,” police said. He is scheduled to appears Friday morning in Clark County Justice Court.

Interstate 15 North at Charleston Boulevard and ramps from U.S. 95 to I-15 North were closed this morning, and motorists were advised to avoid the area, police said.

“Being a public servant and serving this community, being a first responder in this valley is something that we all enjoy,” Clark County Undersheriff Andrew Walsh said at a news briefing. “And right now during this very tragic time, the Nevada State Police is going to need that love and support from the community more than ever.”

Felix, a veteran of the United States Air Force, had been with state police since 2019, the department said. Abbate had been with the department since 2013 and in November was promoted to sergeant, officials said.

“Both Sergeant Abbate and Trooper Felix dedicated their careers to serving the State of Nevada with exceptional commitment and pride,” the department said in a statement. “The Nevada State Police extends its heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of our fallen heroes. We respectfully request that the media maintain the privacy of the families and the Department during this challenging time.”

Clarkson said he was heartened by the community’s outpouring of support, especially in the midst of the holiday season.

Gov. Joe Lombardo issued a statement saying he was “profoundly saddened by the deaths of two of our brave Nevada State troopers, who were killed early this morning in Las Vegas.”

“This is a devastating loss for Nevada law enforcement, the city of Las Vegas, and our entire state,” he said. “As we mourn these troopers, we will never forget their bravery, courage and sacrifice.”

The troopers who died today were the eighth and ninth killed in the line of duty since the inception of the agency in 1949, according to an online memorial.

The most recent previous fatality was that of Trooper Micah May, who was killed in July 2021 after being struck by a car driven by a carjacking suspect on I-15 near Sahara Avenue, according to police.

In March 2020, Sgt. Ben Jenkins was shot and killed on a remote state highway near Ely by a man previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to police. Jenkins was a recipient of the agency’s highest honor, the Gold Medal of Valor.

 

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(c)2023 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)

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