Man to be tried in Dayton pedestrian death

A Dayton judge determined Thursday a driver had illegal amounts of marijuana in his system when he was involved in a traffic accident that killed a pedestrian last April.

Justice of the Peace William Rogers said Ronald Shane Sanemeterio, 30, should also be tried on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving in the death of Paul Leon Dessaussois, 36, a married father of three sons.

According to court records, blood drawn from Sanemeterio following the April 8 accident at Highway 50 East and Pike Street showed he had illegal amounts of marijuana in his system.

Dessaussois, who worked for the Dayton Depot, was on duty waiting to cross Highway 50 East in front of the Red Hawk Casino when a Jeep Cherokee driven by Steven Mason, of Carson City, stopped at the crosswalk about 12:25 p.m., according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Just as Dessaussois crossed in front of Mason's vehicle, a Toyota pickup driven by Sanemeterio slammed into the Cherokee, pushing it into the crosswalk and striking Dessaussois. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"When (Dessaussois) got in front of my vehicle I was impacted from behind," Mason said during testimony Thursday. "I was hit from behind and I went over the top of him."

Mason said he had been stopped for 10 to 15 seconds when the impact occurred.

Sanemeterio told police he was driving the vehicle that rear-ended Mason. He allegedly said he was opening a package of beef jerky for his 6-year-old son, who was unhurt.

Defense Attorney Kent Stover tried unsuccessfully to dismiss the blood evidence and Sanemeterio's written statement - first saying his client was intentionally intimidated by police and then arguing there is no conclusive evidence on whether marijuana is directly connected to impairment while driving.

With the blood evidence allowed to stay, toxicologist Diana Machen testified Sanemeterio likely consumed the drug one to 10 hours before the accident.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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