This past Sunday, a tragic car crashing involving seven vehicles was caused by a drunk driver who ran a red light in the midst of a heated police chase.
Who Is the Suspect and What Are the Charges?
The suspect’s name is Lonnie D. Isabell, age 35, and she was eventually arrested and booked in the Clark County Detention Center; she is being charged with vehicular homicide and DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm. As well, there are charges against her of failure to obey a red light and driving without a license and proof of insurance. According to Las Vegas DUI attorneys, these are severe charges that will be hard to answer to.
What Are the Details of the Fatal DUI?
Early Sunday morning, police attempted to pull Isabell over in her 2006 Mercury Montego. She had been speeding out of a parking lot near Tropicana Avenue and McLeod Drive. When she did not pull over her car, a police chase ensued, ending when Isabell ran a red light and hit the driver’s side of a 2014 GMC Terrain at the intersection of Tropicana and Eastern.
Due to the force of the impact, both cars were sent across the lanes of Tropicana, into oncoming traffic. At least five vehicles were struck there, according to police. Multiple people were taken to Sunrise Hospital to treat their injuries, including the GMC driver, who later died from his injuries.
This marks the 21st traffic death this year.
Lawmakers Considering Changes to DUI Laws
Because of tragedies like this one, Nevada legislatures are targeting repeat DUI offenders with the creation of a new bill that demands harsher penalties for such crimes. Almost half of all fatal crashes in Las Vegas involve an impaired driver.
Sandy Heverly, founder of the group “STOP DUI” has made fighting for harsher DUI penalties her life’s work, after an impaired driver killed her entire family. Now, Sandy can be found fighting for legislative changes for over three decades in Las Vegas. She has also worked closely with thousands of families who have lost loved ones as a result of drunk drivers.
What Do These Proposed Changes Entail?
Out of all the DUI bills she has supported in Nevada over the past 30 years, she called the latest Senate Bill 297 “aggressive.” Among the changes, the bill increases the fines and jail time of the offenders. Jail time for first offenses would be raised from two days to 30 days. For a second offense, jail time would increase from 10 days to six months. The bill would also give officers three hours instead of two to obtain a breathalyzer or blood test from a suspect upon arrest.
Of course, Sandy is glad this bill is being proposed. However, she worries the added penalties won’t be enough to stop a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel and making the poor decision to head onto the road. Sandy recollects on her own tragic accident, from back in the ’80s. “Our offender… just received a $100 fine and walked out of the courtroom laughing.”
Sandy also points out that 30 percent of the DUIs in Nevada are repeat offenders.