State approves $2.5 million settlement; grants federal money for roads

The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved a $2.5 million settlement in a crash that killed four and critically injured a pregnant woman.

The Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle driven by trooper Josh Corcran slammed into the back of a vehicle on Interstate 15 in 2006. The trooper was traveling at 113 mph without flashing lights or his siren, heading home for dinner at the time. He has since pleaded guilty to felony reckless driving and been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

The state first offered a total of $150,000 to the nine surviving children and five surviving adults of the victims' families. They went to court.

The state then made a deal with the surviving family members for a $1.3 million settlement, but the federal judge handling the case rejected it as too low.

"We don't know whether the judge will approve this settlement or not," Senior Deputy Attorney General Stan Miller told the board consisting of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Cecilia Lopez Cruz, 16, who was four months pregnant, survived the wreck. Her husband, Victor De La Cruz-De Leon, 21, sister Reymunda Lopez-Vasquez, 21, her step-uncle Jose Sanchez Lopez, 42, and a family friend, Roberto Mejia Lang, 19, were killed.

In addition, the board approved a plan to spend $20 million in Department of Transportation general obligation bonds.

NDOT Director Susan Martinovich said the money will be used for a series of pavement preservation projects including one between Reno and Carson City.

Roadway maintenance was essentially wiped out earlier this year by budget cuts NDOT was forced to make. Martinovich said at that time there would be almost no road maintenance for the next two years.

The bond money, she said, will restore some of those projects. Which projects, she said, will be primarily decided by how critical the need is. But she said another factor will be how much non-state money each project can leverage.

"Different roads qualify for different funding," she said. "We're going to spend all the federal funding we can."


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