County launches inquiry into highway deaths

LAS VEGAS - Clark County has launched an additional inquiry into the roadside accident that killed six members of a teen-age work crew.

The county manager's office will seek to answer questions raised by two separate reports last week about the safety practices of the Family and Youth Services Department's juvenile work program, County Commissioner Dario Herrera said Thursday.

The department's own review found that the only safety measures used to protect the teens were orange vests and the blinking hazard lights on the van that carried the teens to the Interstate 15 median on March 19. Five teens were killed when a van plowed into the work crew. A sixth teen died the next day.

Exotic dancer Jessica Williams, 21, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Williams fell asleep at the wheel after using marijuana and the designer drug Ecstasy, authorities said.

Nevada's workplace safety enforcement agency found the county failed to provide a highway work crew with safety equipment and training that could have protected the victims.

Herrera said he has instructed the county manager's staff to determine what, if anything, the county should have done differently.

The Clark County district attorney's office has been conducting its own research of the accident in anticipation of potential litigation by the victims' families.

The county has decided to end all roadside work for youths, Deputy District Attorney Peggy Leen said Friday.

Youth crews will continue to work along surface streets.


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