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Nevada Supreme Court rejects appeal to toss criminal case against Zaon Collins

KSNV – Las Vegas 11/3/2022 Matthew Seeman
© Provided by KSNV – Las Vegas

The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected an appeal seeking to dismiss criminal charges against Zaon Collins in connection with a deadly crash nearly two years ago.

In an opinion signed by three justices and filed Monday, the court wrote that Collins' attorneys did not establish "that our discretionary extraordinary intervention is warranted."

Collins was arrested after his 2016 Dodge Challenger crashed into a 2016 Hyundai Accent as the latter made a left turn in the southwest valley on Dec. 30, 2020. Eric Echevarria, the driver of the Hyundai, died from his injuries.

An arrest report from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police stated that Collins was driving nearly 90 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone just before the crash.

RELATED | Judge declines putting Zaon Collins back in jail after two failed drug test

Police alleged they found a leafy green substance in his car and that he showed signs of intoxication from cannabis. A blood test later found that Collins had 3.0 nanograms per milliliter of THC in his blood, when the legal limit at the time was 2.0 nanograms, according to the allegations.

Attorneys for Collins filed a motion to dismiss back in January with the high court arguing the state's DUI laws related to THC levels are unconstitutional and fail when under scrutiny.

They previously filed to dismiss the charges in Las Vegas Justice Court and Clark County District Court, but in both cases, their petitions were denied.

A grand jury had indicted Collins on a charge of reckless driving but declined to indict him for DUI resulting in death.

The Clark County District Attorney's office said it would pursue the case via preliminary hearing, in which a judge hears the prosecution's evidence and decides if it's sufficient for establishing probable cause and proceeding to trial. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 15.

Collins is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Echevarria's widow. A jury trial is currently scheduled to begin in October next year.

A highly-regarded basketball prospect from Bishop Gorman, Collins had committed to attend UNLV and join the Runnin' Rebels men's team. Following the crash, then-UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger said Collins would not join the program after a mutual decision was reached with his family.

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